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November 30–December 3, 2021
Washington, DC|Washington Hilton
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GAO urges Congress to address spent fuel stalemate
Congress needs to take action to break the impasse over a permanent solution for commercial spent nuclear fuel, according to a report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. The GAO recommends that Congress amend the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA) to authorize a new consent-based siting process, restructure the Nuclear Waste Fund, and direct the Department of Energy to develop and implement an integrated waste management strategy.
The GAO also recommends that the DOE finalize the consent-based process it began in 2015 for siting consolidated interim storage and permanent geologic repository facilities. The DOE agrees with that recommendation.
Robert W. Carlsen, Paul P. H. Wilson
Nuclear Technology | Volume 195 | Number 3 | September 2016 | Pages 288-300
Technical Paper | dx.doi.org/10.13182/NT15-138
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
Because of the diversity of fuel cycle simulator modeling assumptions, direct comparison and benchmarking can be difficult. In 2012 the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development completed a benchmark study that is perhaps the most complete published comparison performed. Despite this, various results from the simulators were often significantly different because of inconsistencies in modeling decisions involving reprocessing strategies, refueling behavior, reactor end-of-life handling, etc. This work identifies and quantifies the effects of selected modeling choices that may sometimes be taken for granted in the fuel cycle simulation domain. Four scenarios are compared using combinations of either fleet-based or individually modeled reactors with either monthly or quarterly (3-month) time steps. The scenarios approximate a transition from the current U.S. once-through light water reactor fleet to a full sodium fast reactor fuel cycle. The Cyclus fuel cycle simulator’s plug-in facility capability along with its market-like dynamic material routing allow it to be used as a level playing field for comparing the scenarios. When they are under supply-constraint pressure, the four cases exhibit noticeably different behavior. Fleet-based modeling is more efficient in supply-constrained environments at the expense of losing insight on issues such as realistically suboptimal fuel distribution and challenges in reactor refueling cycle staggering. Finer-grained time steps also enable more efficient material use in supply-constrained environments resulting in much lower standing inventories of separated Pu. Large simulations with fleet-based reactors run much more quickly than their individual reactor counterparts. Gaining a better understanding of how these and other modeling choices affect fuel cycle dynamics will enable making more deliberate decisions with respect to trade-offs such as computational investment versus realism.