The Back-End of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle: Establishing a Viable Roadmap for a Multilateral Interim Storage Facility

Used-Fuel R&D Program

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Robert Rosner, Lenka Kollar, and James P. Malone
Global Nuclear Future

The opportunity to host a back-end R&D program is part of the benefits package to attract states to become hosts of the multilateral storage facility. The purpose of the R&D program will be to research storage integrity and recycling techniques that have less of a proliferation risk than current practices. Funding for this program will be derived from customer storage fees, and customers may allow for the use of their fuel for R&D activities. These research activities may include, but are not limited to, the design and development of enhanced:

  • Used-fuel storage containers and their integrity over time;
  • Containers for the final disposal of used fuel and radioactive waste;
  • Transportation of used-fuel storage containers;
  • Safeguards techniques for used fuel in dry storage;
  • Detectors and equipment for safeguarding used fuel;
  • Chemical and other separation techniques for radioactive material; and
  • Used-fuel recycling technology that is less of a proliferation risk.

The host state will benefit from the technical infrastructure developed by the R&D program, which will include laboratories, equipment, and quality employment. The customers benefit in the long term from a back-end R&D program that may develop more robust technologies for fuel recycling, storage, and disposal. Agreements must outline that the results of the R&D program are available to all participants of the multilateral storage facility.