Nuclear Integration Project (NIP) Workshop

The Back-end: Healing the Achilles Heel of the Nuclear Renaissance?”

March 3-4, 2008, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

Hosted by CRESP and Vanderbilt University

A technically and publicly credible integrated nuclear waste management program that provides for safe disposal of all wastes generated from the current and potential future energy fuel cycles, as well as other defense and civilian nuclear wastes, is needed. Currently, the country’s nuclear waste management system is challenged to provide adequate pathways for management of defense wastes, low level wastes, spent nuclear fuel and potentially new waste streams from advanced fuel cycles. This is the third meeting in an on-going dialogue hosted by CRESP and Vanderbilt University exploring options for the future of nuclear waste management. Past meetings have focused on an overview of nuclear waste management challenges (Oct. 2007) and long-term disposition of spent nuclear fuel from the current fuel cycle (Jan. 2008). This meeting (Mar. 2008) will focus on the challenges and potential benefits posed by different approaches to cradle to grave management of wastes generated by several potential fuel cycle options.

Specific questions to be discussed at the workshop are:

  1. What are the set of reasonable technical options and pros/cons of each option for addressing current and future challenges in management of nuclear waste from defense activities and energy production?
  2. What is the role and impact (pros/cons) of recycling/reuse/reprocessing options on waste management options?
  3. What role could/should interim or transitional storage play? What are the options and pro/cons of different interim or transitional storage options? (e.g., at production locations, several consolidated storage locations, one or two consolidated storage options?)
  4. What is the state of experience and uncertainties associated with waste streams and waste forms? How do they affect transitional storage choices?
  5. What are the near- (25 years), intermediate- (25-100 years) and long-term (>100 years) needs for management capacity?
  6. How should individual or groups of isotopes be separated for most efficient management? What are the key criteria?
  7. How do we assure that we do not create the same problems through reprocessing/recycling/reuse that we created previously?

Given the above, what are key institutional/legal changes required to facilitate more effective and efficient waste management?

  1. Waste form and disposal site performance requirements?
  2. Waste classification system(s)?
  3. Revision of the performance assurance paradigm?
  4. Institutional controls and assurances?
  5. Radiation protection standards?

How can these different types of issues related to options best be depicted?

  1. Alternative flow charts of integrated systems (e.g., w/ & w/out reprocessing; w/ & w/out central transitional storage)?
  2. Temporal flow charts that depict management of the whole system over time showing the systems functioning in 25 year phases?
  3. Some combination of 4.a and 4.b?
  4. What is the role of “examples” in these depictions? How do recent “successes” and “hard lessons learned” contribute to confidence in the future of successful nuclear waste system implementation?

Detailed Agenda and Presentations

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