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Low Level Waste Disposition – Quantity and Inventory

This study has been prepared by the Used Fuel Disposition (UFD) campaign of the Fuel Cycle Research and Development (FCR&D) program. The purpose of this study is to provide an estimate of the volume of low level waste resulting from a variety of commercial fuel cycle alternatives in order to support subsequent system-level evaluations of disposal system performance. This study provides an estimate of Class A/B/C low level waste (LLW), greater than Class C (GTCC) waste, mixed LLW and mixed GTCC waste generated from the following initial set of fuel cycles and recycling processes:

1. Operations at a geologic repository based upon a once through light water reactor (LWR) fuel cycle

2. Aqueous recycling of LWR and sodium fast reactor (SFR) used nuclear fuel (UNF) 3. Electrochemical recycling of LWR and SFR used nuclear fuel

Low level waste generation for operations at a geologic repository ranges from 0.8 m3/MTHM to 3.7 m3/MTHM of used fuel disposed depending on the fraction of used fuel that is prepackaged in canisters that are suitable for direct disposal at the repository. Figure EX-1 shows the waste generation rate with respect to the fraction of used fuel that is prepackaged in directly disposable canisters. These waste generation rates are based on data prepared for the Yucca Mountain repository which assumes repository operations for 57 years and subsequent monitoring for 50 years. Additional monitoring for 200 more years would add 0.2 m3/MTHM to the values shown in Figure EX-1. Repository operations are not expected to generate GTCC waste, mixed LLW or mixed GTCC waste.

 

Waste generation rates for aqueous recycling were derived for various aqueous recycling technologies based on data from industry (AREVA and EnergySolutions), West Valley and the Engineering Alternative Studies (EAS) for Separations. The technologies considered include co-extraction (AREVA), NUEX (EnergySolutions) and UREX+1a. The waste generation rates for aqueous recycling vary and are dependent on the recycling technology chosen and facility capacity. The waste generation rates are shown in Figures EX-2 through EX-5. Low level waste does not appear to be a significant discriminator among the recycling technologies; however, the generation rates vary significantly with respect to facility capacity. GTCC waste varies significantly with respect to both recycling technology and facility capacity, although the waste volumes are significantly smaller than those for LLW, especially at higher facility capacities. The data for mixed LLW and mixed GTCC waste is limited; however, the data indicates that mixed LLW is not a discriminator among recycling technologies but varies significantly with respect to facility capacity. Mixed GTCC waste does not appear to be a discriminator with respect to facility capacity but is with respect to recycling technology.