Nuclear Engineering Division

Nuclear Waste Management using Electrometallurgical Technology

Unit Process Modeling


To support the development and operation of the processing equipment for electrometallurgical treatment of spent nuclear fuel, NE researchers perform analyses to improve the understanding of various process steps, to provide input on equipment design and the selection of process variables, to evaluate performance data for engineering-scale equipment, to assist in planning test campaigns, and to conduct operations. The analysis tools used to conduct these evaluations include specially-developed software, as well as commercial products, such as the FIDAP computational fluid dynamics code. Examples of specially-developed software are the NOVUS code for simulating process campaigns and unit operations and evaluating on-line process models and the ASIDE program for rapid calculations of radioactive decay in the spent fuel and processed materials.

EBR-II Spent Fuel Treatment FlowsheetERANODE

Current activities associated with process modeling include:

  • Modeling of the treatment process steps, which include mechanical, chemical, and thermal processes. These activities include development and application of basic models for each process step, for the purpose of planning operations as well as for evaluating potential models for use in the facility mass tracking system, which provides assurance of nuclear criticality safety and nuclear material accountability.
  • Performing analytical studies of electrorefining equipment used for separating the radioactive fission products from the bulk of the spent fuel. The analyses address electric field distributions in the electrolyte under various operating modes, effects of mixing, and fundamental electrochemistry.
  • Supporting the design optimization of electrorefining equipment by doing detailed calculations of the effects of various anode-cathode geometry design options and by analyzing prototype experiments.
  • Creating and maintaining electronic databases that contain the experimental results for various process steps. These databases used to store and organize the information collected during operation of process equipment and prototype experiments, facilitate post-test investigations of process performance and its dependence on design and operational parameters. The data include fundamental experiments, with digital data, analytical chemistry data, and a variety of analog information, along with the results of actual processing experience. The databases have an Internet-based user interface to facilitate user access and dissemination of information.
  • Performing statistical analysis of the spent fuel treatment process steps (1) to assess process performance against expectations from pilot experiments, and (2) to evaluate effects of equipment scale-up. The statistical techniques are also used to evaluate the impacts of varying the process parameters and to develop process diagnostic tools.

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Last Modified: Thu, April 21, 2016 4:51 AM



Experimental Activities


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Nuclear Engineering Division
Deputy Director: Temitope Taiwo
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