Commercial recovery of valuable radionuclides from spent nuclear fuel: Methods and approaches

Research paper by I. G. Tananaev, B. F. Myasoedov

Indexed on: 14 Jun '16Published on: 14 Jun '16Published in: Radiochemistry


The concept of closed nuclear fuel cycle, accepted in Russia, involves reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel (SNF). It ensures more complete utilization of natural nuclear resources, involvement of artificial fissile materials produced in the course of reactor operation into the fuel cycle, and minimization of the amount of radioactive waste (RW). Full-scale implementation of this concept is prevented by economical factors: The cost of the SNF reprocessing exceeds the cost of the reusable products, uranium and plutonium. Their recovery and sale allows, according to estimates made in the world, compensation of up to 50% of the SNF reprocessing cost. The paper discusses new methods and new approaches to the development of selective extraction and sorption processes for preconcentration, separation, recovery, and purification of valuable radionuclides present in SNF for their subsequent use in industry, nuclear medicine, and scientific research.