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Using Center Hole Heat Transfer to Reduce Formation Times for Ceramic Waste Forms From Pyroprocessing

[+] Author Affiliations
Kenneth J. Bateman, Charles W. Solbrig

Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls, ID

Paper No. ICONE14-89794, pp. 961-969; 9 pages
  • 14th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering
  • Volume 1: Plant Operations, Maintenance and Life Cycle; Component Reliability and Materials Issues; Codes, Standards, Licensing and Regulatory Issues; Fuel Cycle and High Level Waste Management
  • Miami, Florida, USA, July 17–20, 2006
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4242-8 | eISBN: 0-7918-3783-1
  • Copyright © 2006 by ASME


The waste produced from processing spent fuel from the EBR II reactor must be processed into a waste form suitable for long term storage in Yucca Mountain. The method chosen produces zeolite granules mixed with glass frit, which must then be converted into a solid. This is accomplished by loading it into a can and heating to 900 C in a furnace regulated at 915 C. During heatup to 900 C, the zeolite and glass frit react and consolidate to produce a sodalite monolith. The resultant ceramic waste form (CWF) is then cooled. The waste form is 52 cm in diameter and initially 300 cm long but consolidates to 150 cm in length during the heating process. After cooling it is then inserted in a 5-DHLW/DOE SNF Long Canister. Without intervention, the waste takes 82 hours to heat up to 900 C in a furnace designed to geometrically fit the cylindrical waste form. This paper investigates the reduction in heating times possible with four different methods of additional heating through a center hole. The hole size is kept small to maximize the amount of CWF that is processed in a single run. A hole radius of 1.82 cm was selected which removes only 1% of the CWF. A reference computation was done with a specified inner hole surface temperature of 915 C to provide a benchmark for the amount of improvement which can be made. It showed that the heatup time can potentially be reduced to 43 hours with center hole heating. The first method, simply pouring high temperature liquid aluminum into the hole, did not produce any noticeable effect on reducing heat up times. The second method, flowing liquid aluminum through the hole, works well as long as the velocity is high enough (2.5 cm/sec) to prevent solidification of the aluminum during the initial front movement of the aluminum into the center hole. The velocity can be reduced to 1 cm/sec after the initial front has traversed the ceramic. This procedure reduces the formation time to near that of the reference case. The third method, flowing a gas through the center hole, also works well as long as the product of heat capacity and velocity of the gas is equivalent to that of the flowing aluminum, and the velocity is high enough to produce an intermediate size heat transfer coefficient. The fourth method, using an electric heater, works well and heater sizes between 500 to 1000 Watts are adequate. These later three methods all can reduce the heatup time to 44 hours allowing production to be doubled and a more uniform heating.

Copyright © 2006 by ASME



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