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, January 17, 2013

Reza Ghafouri ENGR4810- Nuclear Fuel Cycles

ENGR 4810U NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLES

Reza Ghafouri, PhD, PEng,PMP Winter 2013

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Course Outlines (Tentative)


Introduction to The Nuclear Fuel Cycles Basic principles Uranium fuel cycle Front and Back end overview Nuclear Reactor Types Recourses, Mining and Milling Conversion and Enrichment Isotope separation Production of fissile and fertile nuclear fuel Natural vs. Slightly Enriched Uranium (SEU) Separative Work Unit (SWU) Conversion of Uranium to Uranium Hexafluoride Enrichment- Gaseous Diffusion, Centrifuge Method, Separation Nozzle Method, ALVIS method Enrichment Prices

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Course Outlines (Tentative)


Fuel Design and Fabrication
Metal and Ceramic Fuel Fuel Cladding, sheath materials Design and fabrication of fuel elements Fuel Pellet, Fuel Pin, Assembly Burnable Absorbers or poisons Fuel shipment Fuel problem and Improvement, fuel failure mechanisms and detection of failed fuel Other Fuels, MOX Fuel CANDU fuel bundles; CANFLEX GT-MHR reactors and fuel

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Course Outlines (Tentative)


Reactor Physics of Fuel Criticality Transport and diffusion equations Multigroup equations and approximations The Monte Carlo method Reload calculations In-Core Fuel Management Fuel loading pattern and fuelling strategies Extended burnup CANDU Fuel Management Reprocessing and Recycling Role of plutonium Principles of spent fuel reprocessing Plutonium separation PUREX process Recycling of fuel in CANDU

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Course Outlines (Tentative)


Thermal and Fast breeders; actinide burning
Design and issues

Nuclear fuel cycles of non-power reactors and batteries The Economics of Nuclear Power
CANDU fuel cycle cost

High-Level Waste Managements properties of irradiated fuel classification of radioactive wastes Fuel bay storage Dry fuel storage spent fuel management Decommissioning of Nuclear Power Plants Final review

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Introduction
Nuclear Reactor: a
Nuclear generating stations avoid

component in which nuclear chain reaction initiated, controlled and sustained in a steady rate
In nuclear weapon a chain

emissions of 3.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually (source: Cameco Co.)

reaction happens in a fraction of a second and uncontrolled

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Introduction
Nuclear energy is an important source of electricity throughout the

globe
Currently 435 reactors are operating ( about 374 GWe), 65 under

construction (China 29) and 167 planned (WNA)


http://world-nuclear.org/info/reactors.html

NUCLEAR ELECTRICITY GENERATION 2011 billion %e kWh

REACTORS OPERABLE Jan 2013 No. MWe net

REACTORS UNDER CONSTRUCTION Jan 2013 MWe No. gross

REACTORS PLANNED Jan 2013 No. MWe gross

REACTORS URANIUM PROPOSED REQUIRED Jan 2013 2012 No. MWe gross tonnes U

2518

13.5

435 374,108

65

65,139

167

184,415 317 359,65 67,990

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2006 IAEA report indicates 441 nuclear power plants, with total

installed capacity of 369 GW(e), were in operation worldwide, generating about 16% of global electricity.

France 74.1% Europe dominant source In Japan and Korea become increasingly important UK about 15.7%

Annual average rate of growth of world nuclear capacity is expected

to be in the range of 0.9% up to the year 2025 by which time the total installed nuclear power would be some 438 GW(e).

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World Nuclear Association

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World Nuclear Association Nuclear Century Outlook

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From OECD (Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development); includes about 25 industrialized democracies

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From OECD (Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development); includes about 25 industrialized democracies

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U Resources and production

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Technology Roadmap, Nuclear Energy, 2010

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Technology Roadmap, Nuclear Energy, 2010

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Technology Roadmap, Nuclear Energy, 2010

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Technology Roadmap, Nuclear Energy, 2010

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Technology Roadmap, Nuclear Energy, 2010

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Technology Roadmap, Nuclear Energy, 2010

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Technology Roadmap, Nuclear Energy, 2010

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Technology Roadmap, Nuclear Energy, 2010

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Nuclear Fuel Terms


fissile: isotopes that will fission with slow (thermal)

neutron; e.g., 235U,233U,239Pu, and 241Pu fertile: isotopes that can be converted to fissile materials by the capture of neutron; e.g., 238U,232Th transmutation: the conversion of one element into another by absorbing a neutron and emitting a beta particle to increase by one atomic number unit enrichment: the process of increasing the ratio of the 235U isotope to that of the 238U isotope burnup: the energy produced by the fuel expressed in MWD/MTU (MegaWatt Days per Metric Ton of Uranium

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Nuclear Fuel Cycle


all the activities related to the use of fissile materials as

main fuel in fission reactors

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Fuel cycles
Progression of nuclear fuel in different stages of its life

cycle, or, The way in which fuel gets to nuclear reactors and what happens to it when it comes out. Unlike coal, uranium ore cannot be fed directly into a power station; it has to be purified, isotopically concentrated (usually) and made up into special fuel rods.

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Fuel cycle methods


are based on uranium (235U). In addition to uranium, thorium
It is a fertile material able to absorb a neutron and undergo

transmutation into a nuclide that is able to support fission


The process start by converting Th-232 to U-233 which serves as the

fissile component for the next round of fuel


plutonium; the breeding product of
238U

can be used

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Natural uranium
Natural uranium contains 99% U-238 and only about

0.7% U-235 by weight

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Natural uranium

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Uranium based cycle


Uranium cycle:
235U undergoes fission by absorbing one neutron release energy and several neutrons one of these neutron cause a further fission the rest are absorbed by

control mechanisms structural shielding other material present or predominant 238U it forms neptunium-239 plutonium-239

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Thorium based cycle


Thorium is three times more abundant in nature

compared to uranium mainly as fertile material 232Th isotope.



232Th 233Th

absorbs a neutron 233Th (decays) 233Pa (protactinium) (decay) 233U

From the start of nuclear power program, the potential of


232Th

for breeding human-made fissile isotope 233U efficiently in a thermal neutron reactor has been recognized

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Thorium based cycle


Thorium utilization in

different experimental and power reactors


IAEA report: IAEA-TECDOC-

1450 Thorium fuel cycle Potential benefits and challenges

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For a typical 1000MWe operation


Mining Milling Conversion Enrichment Fuel fabrication Reactor operation Used fuel 20 000 tonnes of 1% uranium ore 230 tonnes of uranium oxide concentrate (with 195 t U) 288 tonnes UF6 (with 195 t U) 35 tonnes UF6 (with 24 t enriched U) - balance is 'tails' 27 tonnes UO2 (with 24 t enriched U) 8640 million kWh (8.64 TWh) of electricity at full output 27 tonnes containing 240kg plutonium, 23 t uranium (0.8% U235), 720kg fission products, also transuranics.

Concentrate is 85% U, enrichment to 4% U-235 with 0.25% tails assay - hence 140,000 SWU required, core load 72 tU, refuelling so that 24 tU/yr is replaced. Operation: 45,000 MWday/t (45 GWd/t) burn-up, 33% thermal efficiency. (In fact a 1000 MWe reactor cannot be expected to run at 100% load factor - 90% is more typical best, so say 7.75 TWh/yr, but this simply means scaling back the inputs accordingly.) Uranium concentrations are sometimes expressed in terms of U3O8 content (U3O8 is a mixture of two uranium oxides approximately as they occur in nature). Pure U3O8 product contains about 85% uranium metal.

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Nuclear Fuel Activities


starts with all the extraction of uranium ore and terminate

with disposal of radioactive wastes


mining and milling to create natural uranium U3O8(Yellow Cake) conversion to uranium hexafluoride UF6 enrichment of UF6 fuel fabrication into uranium oxide

-UO2 use of the fuel in nuclear power, research, or naval propulsion reactors used fuel and low level waste (LLW) uranium and plutonium recycling high level waste (HLW) disposal

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Nuclear Fuel Activities

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Fuel Cycle
Once-through cycle Breeder reactor fuel cycle

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Front and Back ends


Front end of the uranium fuel cycle includes all activities concerning

exploration mining milling conversion enrichment fabrication

Service period
in-core fuel management

Back end

interim storage transportation reprocessing waste disposal

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Uranium history
From WNA Pocket Guide (www.world-nuclear.org) In 1789 Martin Klaproth, a German chemist, isolated an oxide of uranium while

analyzing pitchblende samples from silver mines in Bohemia.


For over 100 years uranium was mainly used as a colorant for ceramic glazes and

for tinting in early photography. Uranium was produced in Bohemia, Cornwall, Portugal and Colorado and total production amounted to about 300-400 tonnes. he discovery of radium in 1898 by Marie Curie led to the construction of a number of radium extraction plants processing uranium ore (radium is a decay product of uranium). Prized for its use in cancer therapy, radium reached a price of 750,000 gold francs per gram in 1906(US$10 million). It is estimated that 754 grams were produced worldwide between 1898 and 1928.Uranium itself was simply a waste material. With the discovery of nuclear fission in 1939, the uranium industry entered a new era. On 2 December 1942, the first controlled nuclear chain reaction was achieved in Chicago. The first nuclear explosion in 1945 demonstrated the enormous power potential of nuclear fission. From a small beginning in 1951, when four light bulbs were lit with nuclear electricity, the nuclear power industry now supplies over 13% of world electricity

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Nuclear Fuel Resources


Uranium discovered by Martin Klaporth in 1789 crustal abundance: about 2 g/ton distributed over entire crust of the earth Crustal abundance
Element Gold Silver Tungsten Molybdenum Uranuim Thorium Lead Copper Zinc Iron Aluminum Abundance g/ton 0.04 0.07 1.5 1.5 1.8 7 13 55 70 50000 81300

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Uranium exploration techniques


Geological studies
based on both fieldwork and accumulated geological knowledge non-sandstone environment Precambrain quartz pebble conglomerate

Airborne Survey
satellites- preliminary Landsat-I launched by NASA by beaming electromagnetic waves onto the surface and receiving the reflected signal radiometric survey by small airplane or helicopter more detailed investigation detection of gamma rays gamma-ray counter can detect the photons emitted by uranium daughters notably radon and bismuth can detect uranium ore in areas as small as 50m2 with ore grades of 0.2 U3O8

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Uranium exploration techniques


Surface surveys by carrying radiation counter by foot, on horseback or on some other rough terrain initial measurement to detect radon gas originating from uranium or thorium may look for gamma rays from fission products such as 85Kr and 133Xe survey include a search for protons emitted from other uranium daughters 214Bi and 219Rn Hydrochemical methods water samples from streams, wells or other sources presence of radon at concentration greater than 1000 pCi/l or Radium greater than 5 pCi/l indicates the water has passed through ore deposit

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Uranium exploration techniques


Well logging based on the drilling of wells to explore surface discoveries in more detail
delayed neutron logging system uses a photoneutron source and

detect the delayed fission neutron produced by the uranium in the ore
measurement helium from a borehole uranium and thorium and their

daughters are alpha particle emitters

Botanical methods existence of high concentrations of certain elements indicates the presence of uranium
for example Astrofilus pattersons needs selenium to grow http://www.cameco.com/common/flash/fuelcycle/index.html#/Exploration

/Candu/

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Mineable deposits
Minerals
Uraninite Davidite Brannerite Carnotite Tyuyaminite Autunite Torbernite Uranophane

Chemical Composition
UO2 (Fe,Ce,La,Y,U,Ca,Zr,Th)(Ti,Fe,Cr,V)3(O,OH) (U,Ca,Fe,Th,Y)3Ti5O16 K2 (UO2)2 (VO4)2.3H2O Ca (UO2)2 (VO4)2.5-8H2O Ca (UO2)2 (PO4)2.10-12H2O Cu (UO2)2 (PO4)2.8-12H2O Ca (UO2)2 SiO3(OH)2.5H2O

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Uranium supply and requirements

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Uranium mining methods


Open pit mining
uranium ore location is near the

Cameco's Key Lake mine in 1994 (Source: Cameco website

surface about less than 100 meters deep depending on the nature of the ore body drilling holes at 50-ft centre may be required for ore bed topsoil is stockpiles for backfilling pits after the shutdown slope 0.75 to 1 with shallow surface berm to prevent slippage

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Uranium mining methods


Underground mining conducted much like coal mining may go down about a mile side tunnels are cut into the ore deposits. The ore is removed, raised to the surface and transported to mill by trucks mine waste is piled in empty tunnel At McArthur River the ore is processed underground to the fine sand, diluted with water and pumped to the surface as slurry or mud. The slurry is trucked to the Key Lake site for milling.
A schematic diagram of underground mine

McArthur River underground mine (source: Cameco website)

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A schematic

diagram of underground mine

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Uranium mining methods


In situ leaching (solution mining)
injection materials in a combination of

water, oxidants and an ionic complex agent


advantages
elimination of stockpiling and hauling of ore elimination of the crushing, grinding and milling elimination of large scale excavations reduction of risks for miners small fraction of radio activity reach to the surface possibility of recovering lower grade uranium

disadvantages
potential for contamination of underground lower recovery rate

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Uranium mining methods


Cameco's uranium refinery In Canada, the refining

at Blind River, Ontario is the world's largest and most modern

process occurs at two facilities in Ontario


refinery at Blind River and conversion facility at Port

Hope

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Precautions
Precautions taken at a uranium mine Dust control
to minimize inhalation of gamma or alpha-emitting minerals main source of radiation exposure in a uranium mine

Radon daughter exposure


In an underground mine a good forced ventilation system is required

Strict hygiene standards - chemical toxicity


use of respiratory protection in particular areas

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Open pit

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Uranium reserves and resources


DOE definition
Reserves: known deposits and

that can be recovered at less that stated cost with currently proven mining Resources
probable possible speculative

Lead time to convert resources

to reserves is about 10yr

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World uranium reserves

15%

10% 8% 7%

Australia Kazakhstan Canada South Africa Namibia 5% Brasil Russian Fed. Uzbekistan United States

17%

4% 30%

4%

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Known Recoverable Resources of Uranium (tonnes U, % of world)


Australia Kazakhstan Canada USA South Africa Namibia Brazil Niger Russian Fed. Uzbekistan Ukraine Jordan India China Other World total

tonnes U 1,143,000 816,000 444,000 342,000 341,000 282,000 279,000 225,000 172,000 116,000 90,000 79,000 67,000 60,000 287,000 4,743,000

% of world 24% 17% 9% 7% 7% 6% 6% 5% 4% 2% 2% 2% 1% 1% 6%

Source: World Nuclear Association

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World uranium production


Distribution by company

(1998)
Company CAMECO COGEMA Vostgok Anglogold Kazatomprom Western Mining Navoi Priargunsky Rio Tinto ERA 31% 17% 2% 2% 4% 4% 6% 6% 8% 10% Shareholder Canada,USA Canada,USA,France.Gabon,Niger,Australia Ukraine South Africa Kazakhstan Australia Uzbekistan Russia Namibia and South Africa Australia

10% 31%

CAMECO COGEMA Vostgok Anglogold Kazatomprom Western Mining Navoi Priargunsky Rio Tinto 17% ERA

8% 6% 6% 4% 4% 2% 2%

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Uranium reserves -Canada


The largest known
Cameco's McArthur River operation

deposits of high-grade uranium ore in the world are found in northern Saskatchewan.
About 14 per cent of the

in northern Saskatchewan is the world's largest high-grade uranium mine

world's known uranium reserves are located in northern Saskatchewan where four mines produce about 30 per cent of the world's supply.

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Uranium reserves -Canada


Uranium in Saskatchewan (source: Cameco)

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Uranium from seawater


Oceans contain a total of perhaps 4000 million tons of

uranium
average concentration of about 3x10-3 ppm marine mud concentration is about 1 ppm approach hydrogen titanium oxide (HTiO) is used to absorb the uranium from

seawater
ammonium carbonate (NH4CO3H2O) is used to separate the uranium

because of high price of uranium, in 1970s Japan started a pilot

plan to recover uranium from seawater


plant was shut down due to high cost

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Uranium from By-Product Materials


Recovery of uranium from by-products such as phosphates copper dump leach liquor
leach liquid from western copper frequently contain 2-20 ppm of U3O8 in

the solution

coal and lignite lignite usually contain 1 to 10 ppm U3O8

just recovery from phosphate reached the commercial

stage estimate of amount of uranium that could be produced from all of these by-product sources is 119000 tons of uranium for the rest of this century

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Reserves availability
Example: (a) How many 1000MWe LWRyears can the world reserves of uranium service? Use the reserves information in Table 2.7 in the Textbook and add all the categories for world resources. (b) If the current capacity of the World nuclear fleet is 350GWe, and that capacity grows at 2% per year, how many years can be served by these resources? (c) If advanced reactors are introduced in 2025 that have a plant efficiency of 45% instead of 33%, how long will the reserves last?

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Uranium commodity

Uranium commodity http://youtube.com/ watch?v=2t3orpAP K0Q

370GWe from 68K tonnes

of U
stockpiles, degraded

weapons and ore bodies

Demand rate is not

constant technological advancements

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Cigar lake issue


Cigar Lake contains about 226 million pounds of ore world's 435 existing nuclear reactors require 173 million pounds of the

mineral could limit the nuclear power industry's plans to develop 168 new nuclear plants worldwide by 2020 Radiation levels at these mines also are far more concentrated than in lower-grade deposits,
work remotely or in protective clothing and equipment.

The accident removed 10 percent of anticipated supply


In 2006, worldwide production of uranium oxide, or yellowcake, fell 4.6 percent to

103 million pounds from 108 million the year before

source: www.bloomberg.com

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Cigar lake issue


blasting by Cameco workers may have triggered the flood after falling

rock
danger at Cigar Lake emerged slowly, 11 days after the blasting. company couldn't control the water initial leak in the tunnel's ceiling of 340 cubic meters an hour was

within the mine's pumping capacity of 500 cubic meters an hour, the company said in its accident report and in testimony to regulators three hours later, the situation was much worse. Groundwater was gushing into the mine at the rate of almost 1,500 cubic meters an hour - three times the pumps' capacity - filling the shaft, the company report states. regulator pledges were to install more underground pumps

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