United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Dissolution Kinetics of Commercial Spent Nuclear Fuels in the Potential Yucca Mountain Repository Environment (NUREG-1914)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed:  December 2007
Date Published:  October 2008

Prepared by:
T.M. Ahn1
S. Mohanty2

1U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  Washington, DC 20555-0001

2Center for Nuclear Waste Regulatory Analyses
  San Antonio, TX 78238-5166

Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

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Abstract

This report provides a summary of a literature survey and an independent analysis of relevant experimental data on the dissolution rate of commercial spent nuclear fuel (CSNF) for disposal at the potential high-level waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. This analysis was carried out to identify models and parameters for the CSNF dissolution rate, for use in performance assessment (PA) models. The survey and analysis focused on three key areas that potentially control the CSNF dissolution rate: (I) in-package water chemistry; (ii) CSNF conditions before aqueous dissolution; and (iii) the modes of groundwater contact with CSNF from the failure of the drip shield and the waste package components. Based on the key findings, two models and their parameters for the CSNF dissolution rates are presented to be used in PA. Two models and their parameters for determining the exposed CSNF surface area for water contact are also presented. These models and parameters are used for determining the rate of radionuclide transfer from CSNF into the contacting water in the WP. PA was conducted to assess the sensitivities of the identified models and parameter values, and the associated uncertainties in radionuclide release.

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