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Nuclear Science and Engineering
Fusion Science and Technology
Finding fusion’s place
Fusion energy is attracting significant interest from governments and private capital markets. The deployment of fusion energy on a timeline that will affect climate change and offer another tool for energy security will require support from stakeholders, regulators, and policymakers around the world. Without broad support, fusion may fail to reach its potential as a “game-changing” technology to make a meaningful difference in addressing the twin challenges of climate change and geopolitical energy security.
The process of developing the necessary policy and regulatory support is already underway around the world. Leaders in the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, China, and elsewhere are engaging with the key issues and will lead the way in setting the foundation for a global fusion industry.
M. Gonzalez, L. Hansen, D. Rappleye, R. Cumberland, M. F. Simpson
Nuclear Technology | Volume 192 | Number 2 | November 2015 | Pages 165-171
Technical Paper | Reprocessing | dx.doi.org/10.13182/NT15-28
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
It has previously been proposed by safeguards experts that curium will track plutonium through a spent fuel pyroprocessing facility, enabling nondestructive assaying of plutonium via counting neutron emissions from 244Cm. This is a critical assumption for the neutron balance approach to safeguards. If Cm and Pu were to behave chemically the same, counting neutrons could be used to estimate Pu concentrations. In this study, plutonium tracking with curium has been investigated using Enhanced REFIN with Anodic Dissolution (ERAD), a one-dimensional transient electrorefiner model based on fundamental electrochemical equations. The model was used to simulate simultaneous deposition of uranium, plutonium, and curium onto a solid metal cathode. Chemical/physical properties used by the model were either obtained from the literature or assumed. The standard exchange current density of curium was estimated by analyzing published cyclic voltammetry data for LiCl-KCl-CmCl3. The focus of the ERAD calculations was on verifying that Pu and Cm could codeposit onto the cathode along with U and to determine if the Pu/Cm ratio would be the same between the salt pool and cathode deposit. It was determined that Cm largely resists cathode deposition, while Pu can be driven to codeposit at sufficiently high current densities. The expected concentration of Cm in the salt would not support any deposition of Cm onto the cathode. It would need to be raised to ~1 wt% before small gram quantities of Cm will deposit onto the cathode. Even then, the Pu/Cm ratio of the cathode was found to be three orders of magnitude higher than the ratio in the salt. It is, thus, concluded that the neutron balance approach would be ineffective at safeguarding a nuclear fuel pyroprocessing facility.