A conceptual design study of a low throughput reprocessing facility for nuclear fuel

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Australian Atomic Energy Commission
The idea of reducing fuel reprocessing costs by changing reprocessing plant design philosophy is explained. It is shown how a significant reduction in unit reprocessing costs can lead to earlier recovery of nuclear material. A classification is given of some existing nuclear chemical reprocessing plants as a function of their maintenance philosophies. The feasibility of the rack concept is discussed for application to a conceptual low throughput reprocessing plant specifically designed for reprocessing fuel from the A.A.E.C.'s Dido-class reactor HIFAR. Laboratory and design development work is described. Preliminary cost estimates are given for a site at the Research Establishment, Lucas Heights, with maximum use of existing facilities, services, and plant. The study did not reveal any technical difficulties that would make the rack concept impractical. The concept of indirect maintenance for items of equipment which are likely to require frequent attention is technically feasible, and it appears possible to remove racks for repair of equipment by normal direct maintenance techniques. Additional development followed by plant construction and operation would be necessary to verify these conclusions and to establish any cost advantages. However, the cost estimates deduced at the start of the study did not change substantially during the course of the work.
Fuels, Reprocessing, Cost, HIFAR Reactor, Nuclear fuels, Fuel reprocessing plants
Cairns, R. C., May, J. R., Baillie, M. G., Farrell, M. S., (1968). A conceptual design study of a low throughput reprocessing facility for nuclear fuel (AAEC-E-187). Lucas Heights, N.S.W.: Research Establishment, Australian Atomic Energy Commission.