Scientists at National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (NRNU MEPhI) have presented a new effective scheme for re-enrichment of reprocessed fuel uranium.
Today, there are a number of projects to improve thermal neutron reactors, which involve the fuel cycle closure and the reuse of fissile materials extracted from reprocessed nuclear fuel. However, according to experts, all enrichment schemes for “regenerated” uranium have individual disadvantages.
The problem is that during uranium regenerate enrichment under repeated recycling conditions, in addition to regular waste – depleted uranium – either a regenerate partially involved in the enrichment or a uranium mixture contaminated with artificial even isotopes, which is difficult to handle for uranium enrichment enterprises, is also released.
According to the researchers, the presence of the regenerate of artificial isotopes 232,236U and increased the content of 234U in the regenerate’s isotopic composition significantly complicates the re-enrichment process. At the same time, multiple recycling significantly increases the amount of “harmful” isotopes.
The scientists are currently improving the method’s characteristics with additional modifications aimed at reducing the enrichment capacity involved and reducing the loss of the valuable 235U isotope.
The study results were published in AIP Conference Proceedings magazine.