Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Committee Member

William G. Culbreth

Number of Pages



With the availability of temporary nuclear waste storage in short supply, the federal government has invested in the research of permanent nuclear waste storage. One area of study is the criticality achieved by emplaced radioactive waste. In this study, a series of parametric analyses were completed to show the relative change in the value of k{dollar}\sb{\rm eff}{dollar} due to changes in canister composition, intrusion of water, and increased enrichment of the fuel. It was found that k{dollar}\sb{\rm eff}{dollar} was increased approximately 33% when the canister was completely flooded, however, the effect of tuff saturation was minimal. Also, different materials and canister thickness changed k{dollar}\sb{\rm eff}{dollar} between 6.44% and 8.75%. The term k{dollar}\sb{\rm eff}{dollar} expresses the ability of nuclear fuel to sustain a chain reaction. Greater than one, k{dollar}\sb{\rm eff}{dollar} signifies supercriticality and less than one, subcriticality. It is hoped that by showing a range of computed values of k{dollar}\sb{\rm eff},{dollar} materials, canister side-wall thicknesses, and enrichments can be chosen to promote the lowest possible k{dollar}\sb{\rm eff}{dollar} for the system and increase the margin of safety for a repository. (Abstract shortened by UMI.).


Canisters; Criticality; Fuel; Parametric; Radioactive; Repository; Spent; Studies; Tuff

Controlled Subject

Nuclear engineering; Civil engineering; Radiation; Nuclear physics; Radiation chemistry

File Format


File Size

3440.64 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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