Comparison of Reprocessing Methods for Light Water Reactor Fuel
Chandler, Sharon (Jess) Ann
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Currently, the United States is investigating methods to close the nuclear fuel cycle and increase the use of nuclear power for electricity and cogeneration applications. Congress has called for and held hearings in an attempt to determine an appropriate path forward for reprocessing of nuclear fuel. However, each current proposed method presents a different set of attributes with regards to: Complexity, safety, wastes, and proliferation risks. This thesis provides a decision analysis methodology for approaching the reprocessing issue. The presented methodology builds on the previous work done in the 1970s. Further, current reprocessing technologies which are capable of processing the oxide fuels utilized in the majority of United States reactors are evaluated across ten attributes related to reprocessing performance. A weighted total score is provided for each reprocessing method in order to separate the technological from political or emotional issues related to selection of a process. While it is not the goal of this thesis to select a particular best technology, application of this methodology results in the selection of the COmbined EXtraction (COEX) technology when equal weighting is put on the attributes as defined. It is unlikely that a decision maker will approach this decision with equal weighting; however, actual decision maker weightings are known only to the decision makers. By altering the weightings, different technologies are selected.