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Fuel Cycle Technologies

INL scientists work with colleagues throughout the national laboratory system to develop robust waste forms for long-term disposal. They also are studying science and technology innovations for recovering fissionable materials from used fuel while improving proliferation resistance and long-term storage options.

Advanced waste forms

INL scientists are testing potential improvements to the global standard for converting liquid radioactive waste into robust solid forms. For example, INL has developed and demonstrated a more efficient approach for making advanced glass-ceramic waste forms.

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Recycling technologies

Advanced nuclear fuel recycling technologies can enable full use of natural energy resources while minimizing proliferation concerns as well as the volume and longevity of nuclear waste. One type of recycling recovers uranium using solvents that can withstand both acid and radioactivity. An INL test facility is helping scientists understand factors that limit use of such solvents.

Transportation & storage

Both policymakers and citizens require confidence that used fuel and radioactive waste can be transported and stored safely and securely. INL engineers are helping build the scientific and technical foundations for safe and secure transportation, extended storage and permanent disposal.

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Nuclear Fuel Cycle Evaluation and Screening

The U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Nuclear Energy (DOE-NE) chartered a study on 12/15/2011 to conduct an evaluation and screening of nuclear fuel cycle options. The objective of the evaluation and screening was to provide information about the potential benefits and challenges of nuclear fuel cycle options (i.e., the complete nuclear energy system from mining to disposal) that could be used to strengthen the basis and provide guidance for the activities undertaken by the DOE-NE Fuel Cycle Research and Development (FCRD) program.