Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Committee Member

Georg F. Mauer

Number of Pages



As currently envisioned, over 70,000 tons of high-level nuclear waste would be stored inside the planned Yucca Mountain repository. After emplacement, the site must be maintained and guarded for over 10,000 years; The reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel is a possible alternative to geological storage. Here, depleted Uranium would be separated from Plutonium and Minor Actinides. While Plutonium can be 'burned' in commercial nuclear reactors, the minor actinides would be transmuted into other elements. The large-scale deployment of remote fabrication and refabrication processes (approx. 100 tons of Minor Actinides (MA) annually) will be required. Process automation has the potential to decrease the cost of remote fuel fabrication and to make transmutation a more economically viable process. Reprocessing and transmutation would reduce the high-level waste volume by over 99%, and reduce the lifetime of the repository to approximately 300 years; The objective of this thesis is the virtual design and simulation of manufacturing processes for transmuter fuel fabrication. Properly designed robotic work cells would likely result in reduced cost of operation as well as increased reliability by reducing the potential for human error during materials handling operations. The candidate fuel manufacturing processes are being modeled using the MSC.visualNastranRTM and ProEngineer RTM simulation software tools. The simulation models will permit the detailed performance and safety assessments of all mechanical components in the manufacturing hot cell.


Design; Fabrication; Fuel; Manufacturing; Modeling; Processes; Remote; Transmuter; Various; Virtual

Controlled Subject

Mechanical engineering

File Format


File Size

4689.92 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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