Document Type


Publication Date



The objective of this project is the design and evaluation of manufacturing processes for transmuter fuel fabrication. The large-scale deployment of remote fabrication and refabrication processes will be required for all transmutation scenarios. Current program emphasis is on a five-year effort to determine the feasibility of transmutation as a technology to limit the need for repository storage of spent commercial fuel. The evaluation of the fabrication processes will create a decision support data base to document design, operations, and costs. Fabrication processes required for different fuel types differ in terms of equipment types, throughput, and cost. Differential cost Implications of various fuel choices will be assessed. The ongoing year 1 project has been focusing on collecting information on existing technologies, equipment costs, and material throughput. Another aspect during years 1 and 2 has been the assessment of robotic technology and robot supervision and control, and the simulation of material handling operations using 3-D simulation tools with view towards the development of a fully automated and reliable, autonomous manufacturing process. Such development has the potential to decrease the cost of remote fuel fabrication and to make transmutation a more economically viable process. An added benefit would be the potential for exposure dose reductions to workers. This project is being conducted in close cooperation with the fabrication development group at Argonne National Lab.

Year 3 of the project will be devoted to developing further data and knowledge regarding the cost and feasibility of automated fuel manufacture in a hot cell. The detailed simulation of manufacturing processes (as robotic operations supervised by remote operators and as virtual mock-up facilities) will be continued. Both normal operations as well as failure scenarios will be investigated, analyzed, and simulated. The results of this study will be documented in detail. The results of the simulations will be used by Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative (AFCI) program personnel to perform sensitivity studies on the impact of different fuel types on AFCI system operation. Conceptual designs for plant designs and the accompanying supervision and control systems will be developed. Impacts on transmutation system capital cost, economics of operation, estimates of process loss, and environmental and safety issues will be estimated in further detail, continuing the work from year 2.


Nuclear fuel rods – Design and construction; Nuclear fuels; Robots; Industrial; Transmutation (Chemistry)


Nuclear | Nuclear Engineering