UNR to study nuclear waste recycling
November 15, 2008
The U.S. Department of Energy awarded a $2.7 million grant to scientists at the University of Nevada Reno to study recycling spent nuclear fuel rather than storing it for millions of years in a facility such as Yucca Mountain.
Mano Misra, director of the Center for Materials Research and a professor in the Department of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, said the project will take spent nuclear fuel from commercial reactors, which is almost 95 percent uranium, subject it to a high temperature process that removes toxins so that the uranium can be used in a reactor again.
That will reduce the demand for mining uranium and the need to store spent fuel rods.
“This will be so cost effective and safe, and solve the dilemma of disposal and storage of nuclear wastes,” Misra said.
He said the amount of nuclear waste created in the recycling process would be tiny compared to the amounts now being produced without recycling. In addition, he said, the waste would require less storage time.
The study will help develop the methodologies that can be used to design efficient recycling systems.
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