Storage of thermal reactor fuels – Implications for the back end of the fuel cycle in the UK
National Nuclear Laboratory, NNL Central Laboratory, B170, Sellafield, Seascale, Cumbria, CA20 1PG, UK
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Accepted: 18 February 2016
Published online: 15 April 2016
Fuel from UK's Advanced Gas-Cooled Reactors (AGRs) is being reprocessed, however reprocessing will cease in 2018 and the strategy for fuel that has not been reprocessed is for it to be placed into wet storage until it can be consigned to a geological disposal facility in around 2080. Although reprocessing of LWR fuel has been undertaken in the UK, and this option is not precluded for current and future LWRs, all utilities planning to operate LWRs are intending to use At-Reactor storage pending geological disposal. This strategy will result in a substantial change in the management of spent fuel that could affect the back end of the fuel cycle for over a century. This paper presents potential fuel storage scenarios for two options: the current nuclear power replacement strategy, which will see 16 GWe of new capacity installed by 2030 and a median strategy, intended to ensure implementation of the UK's carbon reduction target, involving 48 GWe of nuclear capacity installed by 2040. The potential scale, distribution and timing of fuel storage and disposal operations have been assessed and changes to the current industrial activity are highlighted to indicate potential effects on public acceptance of back end activities.
© D. Hambley, published by EDP Sciences, 2016
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.