Fuels, Reactors and Reprocessing

The Fuel, Reactors & Reprocessing capability consists of three teams providing technical support (commercial work, R&D, nuclear foresight & advice) to a wide range of customers including the UK government.

Reactor Design and Separation Science – Separation Science and Special Nuclear Materials

Flowsheet development

Through National Programmes, EU projects and IR&D the team is developing advanced fuel reprocessing flowsheets. This includes head end processes, chemical separation, finishing and solvent degradation and clean-up. The team also has a process modelling capability to aid with flowsheet design.

Plutonium storage

The team is doing a lot of work under the SPRS and Pu Science programs looking at various issues surrounding Pu storage. This has included radiolysis and chloride decontamination. This work has progressed with the Pu can surveillance project, which involves a number of techniques including thermogravimetric analysis, specific surface area analysis and x-ray diffraction. Similar work is being undertaken for NDA along with MOX oxidation studies.

Isotope separations

The team are involved with actinide separations primarily the separation of Am-241 from plutonium for the Space Battery programmes. The team are also in collaboration with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory helping to optimise their Pu-238 recovery flowsheet.

Plant support

On occasion the team will be asked to support SL reprocessing operations. This could be general requirement or an event which generally requires a quick response.

Customers: BEIS National Programmes, NDA plutonium projects, Sellafield Ltd plant support and can surveillance and the EU.

Skills: The team holds all Central Labs glovebox operators.

Facilities: Kit in Area 400 and PuMA Labs.

Collaborations: Manchester University, Lancaster University, Leeds University, Birmingham University, Sheffield University and, ORNL.