Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Materials
Management of Spent Fuel from Power Reactors
Improve the capability of interested Member States to plan, develop and implement safe, environmentally sound and efficient spent fuel management by the identification and mitigation of problems, using information and guidance provided by the Agency.
The importance of the Agency's involvement in the management of spent fuel from power reactors has been noted on several occasions in meetings of the Board of Governors and is reflected in the Medium Term Strategy 2006 - 2011. As concluded at the 2006 conference on the management of spent fuel from nuclear power reactors, the evolving international scene has made spent fuel management one of the more important factors influencing the future of nuclear energy.
Fostering the application of good practices and sharing of experience is a particularly relevant task for the Agency in discharging responsibility and functions according to its Statute (Article III, A/3) and to achieve Goal A in the Medium Term Strategy 2006 - 2011. In addition, signatory countries of the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management can benefit from the Agency's efforts to foster the application of good practices in the spent fuel management area.
- Promoting technologies and strategies for spent fuel management. Details.
- Providing technical guidance on good practices for long term storage of spent fuel. Details.
International Workshop on
Burnup Credit Criticality Calculation Methods and Applications
25 – 28 October 2011, Beijing, China
The objective of the workshop is to provide the information about the fundamentals of burnup credit (BUC) criticality analyses, as well as to present and discuss recent developments in BUC methodologies and applications. The workshop will focus on safety-related, operational and regulatory aspects. It is also intended to foster the exchange of international experience in licensing and implementation of burnup credit (BUC) applications. More details.
Technical Meeting on
Very Long Term Storage of Used Nuclear Fuel
26-28 April 2011, VIC, Vienna, Austria
The purpose of the Technical Meeting (TM) is to share and discuss information relevant to successful implementation of very long term storage (VLTS), and to provide an opportunity for mutually beneficial international collaboration. Another objective of the TM is to identify issues or gaps that must be addressed and to recommend actions to the Agency on work that should be done for covering such gaps. More details.
Technical Meeting on
Cost of Spent Fuel Management Options
7-10 March 2011, IAEA Headquarters, Vienna, Austria
The objective of this meeting is to gather information on experience of participants in costs of various phases of spent fuel management including storage of spent fuel, transportation, disposal, current recycle technologies and the cost estimates in the future advanced reactors and nuclear fuel cycles in order to establish a basis for the comparison of costs of the current and future spent fuel management options to the possible extent, possibly even in relative terms. More details.
Technical Meeting On
MOX Fuel and MOX Spent Fuel Management
21 - 24 February 2011, IAEA Headquarters, Vienna, Austria
Currently, most of the spent fuel accumulating from power reactors is stored while awaiting national or international decisions on final disposition. Only about 30% of fuel discharged each year from nuclear power reactors is reprocessed while spent fuel reprocessing facilities have a capacity of twice this quantity. There is a substantial amount of knowledge and experience in the manufacture, use and management of MOX fuel in thermal reactors. Developments of new generation reactors and fuel cycles may also facilitate the use MOX fuel with fast reactors and other fuel cycle technologies. The purpose of this meeting is to provide an overview of the current status of MOX fuel application as well as insights into future developments associated with advanced reactors and fuel cycles. More details
Third International Seminar on
Interim Storage of Spent Fuel (ISSF-2010)
15-17 November, 2010, Tokyo, Japan
Organized by Central Research Institute of Electrical Power Industry (CRIEPI), Japan in cooperation with IAEA. International experts will share and exchange the knowledge and experiences on the storage of spent fuel. Technical presentations will focus on the current status and issues of spent fuel storage technology. More details. Contact in IAEA: Ho Jin Ryu
Coordinated Research Project (CRP) on
Spent Fuel Performance Assessment and Research (SPAR-III)
SPAR III is a continuation of the SPAR II CRP dealing with research of spent fuel and storage materials behaviour over long term spent fuel storage (100 years and potentially more). Programs carried out so far (BEFAST, SPAR I and II) have identified some potential deterioration mechanisms of spent fuel elements that required detailed investigation. More details
International Conference on Management of Spent Fuel From Nuclear Power Reactors, 31 May- 4 June 2010, Vienna
The International Atomic Energy Agency, in cooperation with the OECD/Nuclear Energy Agency, held an International Conference on "Management of Spent Fuel from Nuclear Power Reactors" from 31 May to 04 June 2010 in Vienna. The conference was attended by more than 200 participants from over 40 countries and 4 international organizations. Besides the Opening Session and Closing Session, the conference consisted of 12 Sessions on:
And 3 Round Table Discussions on:
3–6 November 2009, Vienna.
19-22 June 2006, Vienna.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, in cooperation with the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency, held an International Conference on "Management of Spent Fuel from Nuclear Power Reactors" from 19 to 22 June 2006 in Vienna. The conference was attended by 150 participants and observers from 36 countries and 4 international organizations. The opening session entitled ´Spent Fuel Management "Evolving International Scene" showcased emerging initiatives that have significant potential to shape and influence future spent fuel management approaches in Member States. Following IAEA and NEA presentations on international perspectives, the Chair of the 2005 Expert Group Report to the IAEA Director General highlighted multi-national approaches relevant to spent fuel management. The U.S. Department of Energy then described progress in establishing the US Global Nuclear Energy Initiative while the Director General of IPPE followed with a presentation on the Russian President's Initiative focused on aspects relevant to spent fuel management. Subsequent presentations included one by the head of nuclear energy for the French Industry Ministry describing French choices for the backend of the fuel cycle and another by the Chair of Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd addressing evolving policies in expanding economies. India represented one of a number of IAEA Member States anticipating significant growth in civilian nuclear power capacity. Safety-related sessions on 20 June included addresses by the head of the French regulatory authority and others as well as panel discussions. Technology-related sessions on 21 June featured presentations moving from facilities to containers to the properties and behaviour of the spent fuel itself, also followed by panel discussions. The conference concluded on 22 June with a look to the future in spent fuel management, including a keynote presentation and summaries by the session chairs and the Conference President. As reflected in these summaries, conference participants agreed that the most important conclusions and findings for the future include the following:
- Rising expectations for nuclear energy will continue to motivate new initiatives addressing the backend of the fuel cycle, including recycling options;
- Storage remains an interim solution, and all fuel cycle options require geologic disposal sooner or later;
- Current wet and dry technologies for spent fuel storage are mature and safe, but as storage durations extend and specifications and designs evolve, continued R&D will be needed particularly for behaviour of fuels with higher burnups and new cladding materials;
- Further work is required to develop safety standards regarding spent fuel management, including not only storage but also recycling options;
- Further progress on reporting to the Joint Convention relevant to spent fuel was encouraged, both in the number of contracting parties as well as the rigor of the review process;
- Multilateral approaches will continue to be of interest given the potential benefits described by the 2005 DG Expert Group report;
- The evolving international scene has made spent fuel management one of the more important factors influencing the future of nuclear energy.
Programme Committee for the 2006 Spent Fuel Conference
A programme committee meeting was held 28Feb-2Mar06 to refine the programme structure and sessions and review synopses of technical presentations, aligning these with these sessions. The committee, with representatives from Argentina, France, Japan, Russia, and the USA in addition to the IAEA and NEA, also reviewed more than fifty synopses of papers and provided comments as appropriate for the Secretariat for the IAEA Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Safety Departments to discuss with the authors. The meeting resulted in raising the profile of this conference, inviting important programme participants, and enhancing potential participation at the conference.
2-6 June 2003, Vienna.
In order to read an IAEA Overview of Global Spent Fuel Storage please click.
Also see Proceedings of the 2003 Conference.
IAEA activities dedicated to spent fuel management can be traced back to the International Nuclear Fuel Cycle Evaluation (INFCE) performed in the late 1970s (STI/PUB/534, 1980). Working Group 6 issued a separate report on spent fuel management (i.e., distinct from the Working Group 4 report on reprocessing). The Working Group 6 report identified interim storage of spent fuel as an important step in the nuclear fuel cycle. An earlier IAEA study on Regional Fuel Cycle Centre (STI/PUB/445, 1977) had already pointed out the importance of spent fuel.
A series of international meetings on spent fuel management were organized during the early 1980s, from which several publications were issued on spent fuel storage. These early activities were followed by the establishment of the Regular Advisory Group on Spent Fuel Management (RAGM-SFM) with a mandate for an advisory role on the IAEA programme on a bi-annual basis. Since its first meeting held in 1984, the RAGM continued until it merged with the International Working Group on Nuclear Fuel Cycle Options (IWG-NFCO) to form the new Technical Working Group on Nuclear Fuel Cycle Options (TWGNFCO) in 2002.
The IAEA activities on spent fuel management have evolved to reflect the changing needs and interests of Member States. A glimpse of such changes in the past two decades can be gleaned from papers published in the IAEA Bulletin, as well as other publications, including those noted below.
IAEA Bulletin Articles Providing Historical Background:
I.L.Rybalchenko, J.P.Colton, ´Spent Fuel Management¡, IAEA Bulletin 23(2),pp36-40 (1981)
V.Onoufriev, ´Spent fuel Management Today¡ , IAEA Bulletin 26(1), pp 58-59 (1984)
F.Sokolov, ´IAEA Spent Fuel Management Programme- Past and Present¡, IAEA-TECDOC-419 (1986)
J.L.Rojas de Diego, ´Economics of Spent Fuel Storage¡ , IAEA Bulletin 3/1990, pp 34-38 (1990)
F.Takats, A.Gregoriev, I.Ritchie, ´Management of spent fuel power and research reactors : International Status and trends¡, IAEA Bulletin 3/1993, pp 18-22 (1990)
P.Dyck, M.Crijns, ´Rising demands Management of spent fuel from nuclear power plants¡ , IAEA Bulletin 40(1) 1998, pp pp.24-27
I.Ritchie, ´Growing dimensions : spent fuel management at research reactors¡ , IAEA Bulletin 40 (1) 1998, pp pp.28-31