Development of a Optimization Systems Engineering Model for Spent Fuel Extraction Process

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Conference Proceeding

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The mission of the Transmutation Research Program (TRP) is to establish a national nuclear technology research capability, a nuclear engineering test bed that can carry out effective transmutation and advanced nuclear reactor research and development effort. The TRP is developing technology for the Transmutation of nuclear waste to address many of the long-term disposal issues. As part of this program, a systems engineering model is developed for the UREX (Uranium Extraction) solvent extraction process. UREX process is to separate TRU (Transuranic) elements from the feed and report them to the raffinate section. The process needs to report 95% of Tc and 99.9 % of Uranium to a separate effluent. The U/Tc- free TRU stream is then fed to PYRO-A process. The recovered Uranium is purified for LLW (Low Level Waste) disposal while recovered Technetium is used for transmutation of targets. The Objective of Systems Engineering Model is to model the process quantitatively, to study the interactions between subsystems and performance of the model under the influence of various design parameters. Thus Systems Engineering Model makes it easy to mathematically analyze a complex manufacturing process by controlled design so that all elements are integrated to provide an optimum, overall system. The methodology adopted for Systems Engineering Modeling begins with Defining Process models which determines the inputs and outputs of the systems, Demonstrating Modeling concept where simulations are performed using the basic model and System Analysis which is concerned with analyzing and optimizing the results from the system. The developing model, a graphical user interface (GUI) with all the process blocks, is created using Microsoft Visual Baic 6.0 and linked to the AMUSE (Argonne Model for Universal Solvent Extraction) Excel macros which performs all the calculations for a user defined process. Since the solvent extraction process is treated as a multi-tier, varied stage procedure, the extraction efficiency is controlled by the amount of solvents introduced and complex centrifugal contactor setup and conditions. A multiple simulation scheme can provide researchers with a better estimation on extraction rates. To further optimize the extraction process, we integrate the VB interface with Optimization toolbox and Simulink module from MatlabTM. Optimum values of design variables, such as solvent concentration and the number of extraction stage and section, are sought. The new interface generates tabulated and graphical reports for the optimized concentration profiles, D values and mass balance for all the elements in the process. The developed generic optimization interface is extremely valuable for further optimizing extraction processes for Pu/Np, Cs/Sr and minor actinides.


Argonne Model for Universal Solvent Extraction (AMUSE); Computer programming; Separation (Technology); Software engineering; System analysis; Systems engineering; Transuranium elements – Separation; Uranium Recovery by Extraction (UREX)

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Computer programming; Separation (Technology); Software engineering


Engineering Science and Materials | Nuclear Engineering | Oil, Gas, and Energy | Operations Research, Systems Engineering and Industrial Engineering | Systems Engineering




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