Nuclear Fuel Cycle

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Code Completion Credits Range Language
17JPC KZ 2 2+0 Czech
Ľubomír Sklenka (guarantor), Radovan Starý (guarantor)
Ľubomír Sklenka (guarantor), Radovan Starý (guarantor)
Department of Nuclear Reactors

The course is focused on front-end & back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle of the nuclear power plants, particularly PWR used and / or planned in the Czech Republic. The first part of the course consists of introduction to front-end of the nuclear fuel cycle. After the first division and definitions of various types of fuel cycles, the lectures are pointed to various uranium and thorium sources, their mining, mechanical and chemical processing to the shape of yellow cake. The next step there are very briefly described types of purifications, conversions, enrichment and fabrication of nuclear fuel. The second part of the course consists of introduction to back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle, namely spent nuclear fuel, spent nuclear fuel inventory, wet and dry spent fuel storage, interim spent fuel storage and final disposal of spent nuclear fuel. At the end of the course basic information about thorium fuel cycle is mentioned. Note: Inner nuclear fuel cycle is the part of 17PRF - Core physics and fuel management course.



Syllabus of lectures:

1. Introduction

Duration: 1 lecture


Fuel cycle definition, description of fuel cycles and fuel cycle nodes, division of various fuel cycles

2. Reserves and uranium mining in environment

Duration: 2 lectures


Uranium reserves on the Earth, their amount and distribution on the Earth, uranium mining in each regions, mining history, types of mining (open-cast mines, mines, ISL), the biggest uranium mines of the World, uranium mining in the Czech Republic (history, description of mining fields, present time).

3. Mechanical and chemical processing of ore

Duration: 1 lecture


Mechanical processing of ore (granulation, milling), leaching (acid, carbonate), miscellaneous methods of uranium separation from leachates (sorption, solvent-extraction, etc.), production and composition of yellow cake.

4. Purification and conversion to UF6

Duration: 1 lecture


Nuclear-grade specification, miscellaneous purification methods of yellow cake to the nuclear-grade material (solvent extraction with TBP, etc.) processing of UF6 for enrichment.

5. Enrichment

Duration: 2 lectures


Term definition (depleted uranium, highly enriched uranium, ...), enrichment history, theory of enrichment (enrichment cascade, separation work, ?) description and characteristic of each enrichment method: electromagnetic separation, gaseous diffusion, thermal liquid diffusion, gas centrifuge separation, aerodynamic separation, AVLIS.

6. Fuel fabrication

Duration: 1 lecture


Conversion of UF6 to UO2, features of powder UO2, processing of fuel pellets, fabrication of fuel rods and fuel assemblies, construction fuel assemblies for: VVER, PWR, BWR, and CANDU.

7. Back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle

Duration: 2 lectures


Back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle, once-through nuclear fuel cycle, closed nuclear fuel cycle, reprocessing of the spent nuclear fuel, legislative requirements for spent nuclear fuel and nuclear installation contain spent fuel

Spent nuclear fuel, spent nuclear fuel inventory, computer codes SCALE & ORIGEN for inventory calculation, practical use of the ORIGEN code for calculation of spent fuel inventory from WWER reactors

8. Spent nuclear fuel storage and final disposal

Duration: 2 lectures


Basic requirements for spent fuel storage, interim spent fuel storage, various types of spent fuel storage, wet and dry spent fuel storage, and final disposal of spent nuclear fuel

Dry spent fuel storage, storage and transportation casks, physics and technology aspects of cask storage, safety of cask storage, CASTOR cask for spent fuel from Dukovany & Temelín NPP

9. Thorium fuel cycle

Duration: 1 lecture


Thorium fuel cycle, thorium fuel, physics differences of thorium fuel, reactor operation with thorium fuel, use of thorium fuel in the world, perspective of thorium fuel in next generation of NPP

Syllabus of tutorials:

Seminars doesn't included to the course

Study Objective:

An overview of both front-end & back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle of the nuclear power plants.

Application of acquired knowledge to solve problems, qualification and quantification of the effects of various physical quantities and phenomena on the operation of nuclear reactors and nuclear safety.

Study materials:

Key references:

Stacey, W. M.: Nuclear Reactor Physics, Chapter 5 Nuclear Reactor Dynamics &

Chapter 6 - Fuel Burnup, WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim, 2007

John R. Lamarsh: Introduction to Nuclear Engineering, 3rd Ed., Prentice Hall, 2001

Recommended references:

Operation and Maintenance of Spent Fuel Storage and Transportation Casks/Containers, IAEA-TECDOC-1532, IAEA, Vienna, 2007

Design of Fuel Handling and Storage Systems in Nuclear Power Plants Safety Guide, IAEA Safety Guide, NS-G-1.4, IAEA, Vienna, 2003

Media and tools:

Audiovisual technique, films on DVD

Time-table for winter semester 2018/2019:
Time-table is not available yet
Time-table for summer semester 2018/2019:
Time-table is not available yet
The course is a part of the following study plans:
Data valid to 2019-06-25
For updated information see http://bilakniha.cvut.cz/en/predmet1182906.html