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Finland in Front: The World’s Likely First Spent Fuel Repository Moves Toward Licensing
The year 2024 is shaping up to be a historic one for Posiva, the waste management organization owned by Finland’s two nuclear power plant utilities, Fortum and Teollisuuden Voima. The company is looking to receive regulatory approval of its operating license for the Onkalo deep geological repository for high-level radioactive waste by the end of the year.
G. L. Beausoleil, C. Petrie, W. Williams, A. Jokisaari, L. Capriotti, S. Novascone, C. Adkins, M. Kerr
Nuclear Technology | Volume 207 | Number 10 | October 2021 | Pages 1491-1510
Critical Review | doi.org/10.1080/00295450.2020.1826272
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
With the increasing interest in sodium fast reactor technology, as seen by applications to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for the OKLO Aurora plant, fuel testing for the TerraPower Traveling Wave Reactor, and the impending construction and startup of the versatile test reactor (VTR), a modernized, accelerated approach to fuel qualification is needed. To guide this effort, a Phenomena Identification Ranking Table–styled analysis was performed for a U-Pu-Zr sodium-free annular fuel system. This analysis evaluated a series of fuel design properties and parameters against their contributions to key fuel performance phenomena. The resulting priority parameters were then reviewed against existing modeling and experimental capabilities to support investigation of the highest-priority parameters. A pathway for qualification was then established using high-throughput, high-volume experiments from MiniFuel and FAST in parallel with advanced physics-based model development. This effort outlines how the first stages of qualification can be reduced from the typical 20+-year development cycle to 5 to 7 years by deploying accelerated irradiation testing platforms. As with any accelerated test, these methods are prototypic in some aspects and less so in others; however, by coupling with advanced fuel performance modeling and simulation capabilities, the larger space of irradiation parameters and material response provided offers advantages for the validation of physics-based models supporting the deployment of novel fuel designs. As a test case, this paper utilizes a proposed Mark II fuel system for the upcoming VTR. Thus, an accelerated qualification method can be tested for the development of MARK II driver fuel so that by the time of VTR startup, lead test assemblies for a Mark II fuel can be initiated.