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Nuclear Technology, 3. Fuel Cycle

  1. Günter Koch1,
  2. Siegfried Träger2,
  3. Arthur Max2,
  4. Wolf-Dieter Krebs3,
  5. Wolfgang Stoll retired4,
  6. Werner Heit5,
  7. Ernst Warnecke6,
  8. Peter Brennecke6,
  9. Erich Merz7

Published Online: 15 OCT 2011

DOI: 10.1002/14356007.o17_o06

Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry

Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry

How to Cite

Koch, G., Träger, S., Max, A., Krebs, W.-D., Stoll, W., Heit, W., Warnecke, E., Brennecke, P. and Merz, E. 2011. Nuclear Technology, 3. Fuel Cycle. Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    Kernforschungszentrum Karlsruhe, Institut für Heisse Chemie, Karlsruhe, Federal Republic of Germany

  2. 2

    Nukem GmbH, Alzenau, Federal Republic of Germany

  3. 3

    formerly Siemens AG, Unternehmensbereich KWU, Erlangen, Federal Republic of Germany

  4. 4

    (Siemens AG Brennelementwerk Hanau), Hanau, Federal Republic of Germany

  5. 5

    Nukem GmbH, Hanau, Federal Republic of Germany

  6. 6

    Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz, Salzgitter, Federal Republic of Germany

  7. 7

    Forschungszentrum Jülich, KFA, Jülich, Federal Republic of Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 OCT 2011

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The article contains sections titled:

2.Uranium Production, Conversion, and Enrichment
2.1.Occurrence and Classification of Deposits
2.3.Output and Demand
3.Fabrication of Fuel Elements
3.1.Fuel Assemblies for Light-Water Reactors
3.1.1.Functions of Fuel Assemblies
3.1.2.Raw Material for Nuclear Fuel
3.1.3.Conversion Processes
3.1.4.Production of Uranium Dioxide Sintered Pellets
3.1.5.Production of Fuel Rods and Fuel Assemblies
3.2.Fuel Elements for High-Temperature Reactors
3.2.1.General Aspects
3.3.Fuel Assemblies made from Reprocessed Plutonium
3.3.1.Availability of Plutonium
3.3.2.Utilization Strategies
3.3.3.Requirement for Mixed-Oxide Thermal Fuel Assemblies
3.3.4.Requirement for Fast Breeder Fuel Assemblies
3.3.5.Problems in Handling Plutonium
3.3.6.Fabrication of Mixed-Oxide Fuel Assemblies
3.3.7.Radiation Protection and Safety Aspects
4.Chemical Reprocessing of Nuclear Fuels
4.1.Reprocessing of LWR Fuel Elements
4.1.1.General Scheme
4.1.2.Fuel Composition and Purification Requirements
4.1.3.Mechanical Head-End
4.1.4.Fuel Dissolution
4.1.5.Feed Clarification and Make-up
4.1.6.PUREX Process: Chemistry
4.1.7.PUREX Process: Flow Sheet
4.1.8.PUREX Process: Product Purification
4.1.9.PUREX Process: Extraction Equipment
4.1.10.Off-Gas Purification
4.1.11.Nuclear Safety
4.2.Research and Development
4.2.1.Developments in LWR Fuel Reprocessing
4.2.2.Reprocessing of Fast Breeder Reactor Fuels
5.Radioactive Waste Management
5.1.Classification of Radioactive Waste
5.1.1.Generic Classification
5.1.2.Waste Classification for Disposal
5.1.3.Catalog of Waste Types
5.2.Conditioning of Radioactive Waste
5.2.1.Heat-Generating Radioactive Waste
5.2.2.Non-Heat-Generating Radioactive Waste
5.3.Origin and Amount of Radioactive Waste
5.3.1.Origin of Radioactive Waste
5.3.2.Present Amount of Unconditioned and Conditioned Radioactive Waste
5.3.3.Future Amounts of Radioactive Waste
5.4.Disposal of Radioactive Waste
5.4.1.Principles of Waste Disposal
5.4.2.Underground Laboratories
5.4.3.Near-Surface Repositories
5.4.4.Underground Repositories
6.Safety Aspects in the Design of Reprocessing and Waste Treatment Plants
6.1.Objectives of Protection
6.2.Safety Through Multiple Barrier Enclosure
6.3.Safety Measures for Protection of Employees
6.4.Malfunction and Safety Analysis
6.5.Environmental Protection and Radiological Exposure
6.6.Radioactive Residual Substances and Waste
6.7.Decommissioning and Dismantling
6.8.International Coordination of Safety Regulations

Power reactors serve to supply energy. The heat created in commercial power reactors is used for the production of electrical energy. The economic motivation for building nuclear power plants is the high energy content of the nuclear fuel uranium and its low cost.

The first large-scale nuclear power plant went on-line at Calder Hall (United Kingdom) in 1956. At the beginning of 2005, 441 nuclear power plant units with a total output of 385 854 MWe were in operation worldwide. Since that time worldwide 103 prototype or commercial units have been shut down. In 2005 22 new nuclear power plants with a capacity of 26 102 MWe were under construction.

In this chapter a survey of the important technical and economic parameters of commercial nuclear power reactors is given. Reactors are classified according to characteristics like neutron energy, fuel, enrichment, fissile material, moderator, coolant, and operational cycle. Numbers and electric capacity of nuclear power plants in operation worldwide are shown.

Beside these technical and economic aspects of power reactors their influence on human life and nature by radiation burdens and radiation damage are outlined. Radiological quantities and units are introduced. Radiation protection from nuclear sources and radiation safety rules in Germany, Europe, and the world complete the survey.