Nuclear fuel cycles: interfaces with the environment
Sharrad, C. A., Harwood, L. M. and Livens, F. R. (2011) Nuclear fuel cycles: interfaces with the environment. In: Harrison, R. M. and Hester, R. E. (eds.) Nuclear power and the environment. Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, pp. 40-56. ISBN 9781849732888
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1039/9781849732888-00040
The waste materials generated in the nuclear fuel cycle are very varied,ranging from the tailings arising from mining and processing uranium ore, depleted uranium in a range of chemical forms, to a range of process wastes of differing activities and properties. Indeed, the wastes generated are intimately linked to the options selected in operating the nuclear fuel cycle, most obviously to the management of spent fuel. An open fuel cycle implies the disposal of highly radioactive spent fuel, whereas a closed fuel cycle generates a complex array of waste streams. On the other hand, a closed fuel cycle offers options for waste management, for example reduction in highly active waste volume, decreased radiotoxicity, and removal of fissile material. Many technological options have been proposed or explored, and each brings its own particular mix of wastes and environmental challenges.