On Unfissioned Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF) – also called waste
Researchers at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm have proven that copper corrodes in water free of oxygen. When the hydrogen escapes, as it normally does, the corroding process continues. At worst corrosion can eat thru the 5cm copper in as little as 50- 100 years. In addition there’s no such thing as a repository lasting geological time spans.
KBS3 containment method invalidated
This means the containment planned for Sweden and Finland’s geological repositories must be redesigned. Even with the best case of multiple corrosion barriers in a dry environment like Yucca Mt, 1000 years is a realistic time horizon.
SNF is valuable fissile material
Thorium fuel cycles and reactors need a start charge and SNF is ideal. In a thorium value chain, good prices would be paid for SNF. 2 million tons SNF can serve as start charge for 50 000 1GW fluid fuel reactors.
Providing temporary SNF storage forms intended for incineration or start charges in a fluid system, is no technological problem. SNF is made up of all the TRansUranians (TRUs) encapsulated in zirconium Zr pellets. As Czech scientists have shown, SNF can be batchwise and wholesale flourinated, turned into fluorides, without separating out single isotopes. TRUs will reduce to neglieable levels over the decades and Zr will be part of the FP waste stream.
FP waste products need 1000 years containment
Short lived waste coming out of a 100% fuel efficient thorium cycle is made up of Fission Products. Less radiotoxic and without proliferation concerns, it needs only be contained for a time span that is reasonably achievable. So by reusing the SNF, the one million year contention is solved ! By rethinking the entire matter of the global nuclear pool, a sustainable thorium fuel cycle is perfectly compatible with a solution to the storage and corrosion issues !
If you think that the MSR and SNF reuse are upsetting or dangerous Big Physics ideas…
..read established industry plans [Apache list] for the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership. Transmutation and U-Pu breeders entail astronomical costs. These systems are far more futuristic and most importantly : not sustainable.
There’s no such thing as nuclear waste.