Nuclear fuel cycles

Vol. 35-3

September 1993

Spent fuel management has always been one of the most important stages in the nuclear fuel cycle, and stands among the most vital problems common to all countries with nuclear reactors. It begins with the discharge of spent fuel from a power or a research reactor and ends with its ultimate disposition, either by direct disposal or by reprocessing. Two options exist at present - an open, once-through cycle with direct disposal of the spent fuel and a closed cycle with reprocessing of the spent fuel and recycling of plutonium and uranium in new mixed oxide fuels. The selection of a spent fuel strategy is a complex procedure in which many factors have to be weighed. They include political, economical, and safeguards issues as well as protection of the environment. Because of the current low uranium prices, recycled uranium and plutonium cost more than newly mined uranium. Delays in the implementation of the fuel reprocessing option in some countries, the complete abandonment of this option in other countries, and delays in the availability of final spent fuel disposal in almost all counties have led to increasingly long periods of interim spent fuel storage. 1 fig., 3 tabs

Nuclear fuel cycles: Adjusting to new realities

World uranium supply and demand: The changing market

Nuclear raw materials: Developing resources through technical co-operation

Management of spent fuel from power and research reactors: International status and trends

Safeguarding sensitive nuclear materials: Reinforced approaches

Russia's nuclear fuel cycle: An industrial perspective

Nuclear energy and its fuel cycle in Japan: Closing the circle

Plutonium as an energy source: Quantifying the commercial picture

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the IAEA: A comparative overview

Arms reduction and the peaceful use of nuclear energy

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