Nuclear, Reactors, Waste Management & Decommissioning

Texas A&M researches nuclear waste as fuel

Issue 11 and Volume 100.

Texas A&M researches nuclear waste as fuel

Texas A&M nuclear engineering researchers are gathering and verifying basic nuclear data needed to design reactors that could burn actinides, a highly toxic form of nuclear waste, as fuel.

“Such reactors can destroy long-lived radioactive wastes and lessen the amount of waste that will ultimately need to be disposed of in underground repositories,” said Ted Paris of Texas A&M.

In one study, the researchers successfully measured the number of neutrons emitted per fission reaction–information that is necessary if actinide burners are to be designed and operated. Parish said his work is the first based on actual measurements of actinide properties rather than computer models.

Texas A&M has received $170,000 in funding over three years from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, under the Japan-USA Actinide Program sponsored by the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute. A Japanese researcher, Nobuo Shonohara, is working with Parish on the project.