NNL has issued its latest position paper: Minor Actinide Transmutation. For many years there has been a sustained international interest in partitioning and transmutation of the minor actinides neptunium, americium and curium produced by fission reactors.
Although these three elements are produced in relatively small quantities in fission reactors, they are major contributors to the decay heat, neutron output and radiotoxicity of spent nuclear fuel. If spent nuclear fuel is reprocessed conventionally, the heat output, neutron output and radiotoxicity from the minor actinides carries over to the vitrified high level waste (VLHW) in which they are incorporated. Implementation of minor actinide transmutation on a commercial scale will require major research and development effort sustained over many years and is not likely to be available for at least twenty years. This position paper sets out the view of the UK National Nuclear Laboratory’s (NNL) of the potential role of minor actinide transmutation in the context of nuclear waste management in the UK. Click on this link to download a copy
Other Position Papers can be found at: www.nnl.co.uk/positionpapers