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This proposal addresses the subject heading ‘Transmutation Fuel Development’ in the 2004 research topic list of the UNLV Transmutation Research Program (TRP) and DOE Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative (AFCI). The large-scale deployment of remote fabrication and refabrication processes (with a capacity of approx. 100 metric tons of Minor Actinides (MA) annually) will be required for all transmutation scenarios. The objective of this project is the design, analysis, and evaluation of manufacturing processes for transmuter fuel fabrication. Fabrication processes for different fuel types differ in terms of equipment types, throughput, and cost. The evaluation of the fabrication processes will create a decision support data base that will document design, operations, plant safety, and costs. Differential manufacturing cost implications of various fuel choices will be quantified and documented in detail. The project will focus on

(a) collecting information on existing technologies, equipment costs, and material throughput.

(b) the design of robotic technology, robot supervision and control, including detailed temporal and spatial simulations of hot cell operations, accident recovery, and equipment reliability studies.

Process simulations will be conducted with view towards the development of fully automated and reliable, autonomous manufacturing processes. Automation has the potential to decrease the cost of remote fuel fabrication and to make transmutation a more economically viable process. As before, this project will be conducted in close cooperation with the fabrication development group at Argonne National Laboratory. Manufacturing work cells for the following fuel types will be designed and evaluated:

• Oxide Fuels (powder processing)

• Metallic Fuels (from molten salt electrolytic separation)

• Dispersion Fuels

• TRISO Fuels


Nuclear fuels – Design and construction; Radioactive wastes — Transmutation; Robots; Industrial


Nuclear | Nuclear Engineering | Oil, Gas, and Energy