Non-Fuel Bearing Hardward Melting Technology

by Darrell F. Newman, Pacific Northwest Lab, Richland, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: High Level Radioactive Waste Management 1993


Battelle has developed a portable hardware melter concept that would allow spent fuel rod consolidation operations at commercial nuclear power plants to provide significantly more storage space for other spent fuel assemblies in existing pool racks at lower cost. Using low pressure compaction, the non-fuel bearing hardware (NFBH) left over from the removal of spent fuel rods from the stainless steel and fittings and the Zircaloy guide tubes and grid spacers still occupies 1/3 to 2/5 of the volume of the consolidated fuel rod assemblies. Melting the non-fuel bearing hardware reduces its volume by a factor 4 from that achievable with low-pressure compaction. This paper describes: 1) the configuration and design features of Battelle's hardware melter system that permit its portability, 2) the system's throughput capacity, 3) the bases for capital and operating estimates, and 4) the status of NFBH melter demonstration to reduce technical risks for implementation of the concept. Since all NFBH handling and processing operations would be conducted at the reactor site, costs for shipping radioactive hardware to and from a stationary processing facility for volume reduction are avoided. Initial licensing, testing, and installation in the field would follow the successful pattern achieved with rod consolidation technology.

Subject Headings: Fuels | Nuclear power | Rods | Benefit cost ratios | Stationary processes | Radioactive wastes | Energy storage | Power plants

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