The MYRRHA project and its role in the European P&T strategy for High Level Waste Management

Hamid Ait Abderrahim (SCK CEN)
Event Date and Time: 
Mon, 2015-11-02 13:30 - 14:30
TRIUMF Auditorium

Presently, the European Union produces 30% of its electricity by Gen.II nuclear reactors. This leads to the production of 2500 t/y of used fuel, containing 25 t of Plutonium, and High Level Wastes (HLW) such as 3.5 t of minor actinides (MA), namely Neptunium (Np), Americium (Am) and Curium (Cm) and 3 t of long-lived fission products (LLFPs). The used fuel reprocessing followed by the geological disposal or the direct geological disposal are today the envisaged solutions depending on national fuel cycle options and waste management policies. The Partitioning and Transmutation (P&T) has been pointed out in numerous studies as the strategy that can relax constraints on the geological disposal, and reduce the monitoring period to technological and manageable time scales. Transmutation based on critical or sub-critical fast spectrum transmuters should be evaluated, in order to assess the technical and economical feasibility of this waste management option. After more than twenty years of basic research funded by national programmes and EURATOM framework programmes, the research community needs to reach a position of being able to quantify indicators for decision-makers, such as the proportion of waste to be channelled to this mode of management, but also issues related to safety, radiation protection, transport, secondary wastes, costs, and scheduling. From 2005, the research community on P&T within the EU started structuring its research towards a more integrated approach. This resulted during the FP6 into two large integrated projects namely EUROPART dealing with partitioning and EUROTRANS dealing with ADS design for transmutation, development of advanced fuel for transmutation, R&D activities related to the heavy liquid metal technology, innovative structural materials and nuclear data measurement. This approach resulted in a European strategy given in introduction based on the so-called "four building blocks" at engineering level for P&T. The MYRRHA project contributes heavily to the third building block of this European strategy and in this paper we will focus on the ADS programme in the EU through the MYRRHA project. In this seminar we will present the EU strategy for P&T and the status of the MYRRHA project as by mid-2015 concerning the technical design, the pre-licensing and the consortium establishment for building the MYRRHA facility.

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