New separation technique

3 September 2003

An experimental semi-technological line for development and subsequent verification of pyrochemical partitioning of spent fuel has been inaugurated at the Rez nuclear research institute in the Czech Republic.

The experimental line is intended for R&D into the separation of actinide and fission products by the fluoride volatility method. This separation process involves the flame fluoridation of spent fuel with fluorine gas and the subsequent separation of volatile compounds (such as UF6) from non-volatile compounds (for example, fluorides of plutonium, most fission products and minor actinides). The process of uranium removal and conversion of PWR spent oxide fuel into the fluoride form plays a crucial role in the Czech partitioning and transmutation programme, based on the development of molten salt transmutation reactor fuel cycle technologies.

This experimental pyroprocessing technology is funded by the Czech utility CEZ, the Radioactive Waste Repository Authority and the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

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