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Depleted uranium as a backfill for nuclear fuel waste package

United States Patent

5,832,392
November 3, 1998
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Oak Ridge National Laboratory - Visit the Partnerships Directorate Website
A method for packaging spent nuclear fuel for long-term disposal in a geological repository. At least one spent nuclear fuel assembly is first placed in an unsealed waste package and a depleted uranium fill material is added to the waste package. The depleted uranium fill material comprises flowable particles having a size sufficient to substantially fill any voids in and around the assembly and contains isotopically-depleted uranium in the +4 valence state in an amount sufficient to inhibit dissolution of the spent nuclear fuel from the assembly into a surrounding medium and to lessen the potential for nuclear criticality inside the repository in the event of failure of the waste package. Last, the waste package is sealed, thereby substantially reducing the release of radionuclides into the surrounding medium, while simultaneously providing radiation shielding and increased structural integrity of the waste package.
Forsberg; Charles W. (Oak Ridge, TN)
The United States of America as represented by the United States Department of Energy (Washington, DC)
08/ 858,189
April 15, 1997
The United States Government has rights to this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-AC05-96OR22464 with Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corporation, awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy.