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article imageCandu nuclear reactors may be able to recycle spent nuclear material

By Competetant414     Feb 12, 2007 in Environment
At long last spent nuclear fuel from other reactors may be recycled in Candu style reactors.
The newspaper article notes" Canada's heavy-water reactors can run on spent fuel from most light-water reactors, eliminating 2 headaches: skyrocketing uranium prices and waste disposal concerns"
This is very good news given the diminishing supply of non-replaceable hydrocarbon fuels, the possible supply control concerns, global warming, and the concerns about growing stockpiles of nuclear waste. Nuclear power generation has many benefits, including reduced greenhouse gases, reliability and relative lower cost, once the facilities have been built.
A little bit of background is necessary. There are two types of nuclear reactors: The CANDU or 'heavy water type, or DUPIC and the pressurized light-water reactors, or PWR's. "The heavy-water reactor technology that lies at the heart of Candu's design can, with some technical tinkering, directly use waste fuel from most rival light-water reactors. On the other hand, There are hundreds of pressurized light-water reactors (PWRs) around the world being used to generate electricity and propel submarines and aircraft carriers".
"In the United States alone, two-thirds of the 104 reactors in operation are based on PWR designs, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. This has led over the years to the accumulation of 36,000 metric tonnes of spent fuel, which is kept in temporary storage at dozens of locations until a safe permanent-storage site can be found".
There's lots more information in the article which is probably too much to explain here. The bottom line is that this is a promising technology for Candu reactors, and will help solve many of the waste problems noted. Sure there will be other problems such as transporting the waste to the Candu reactors, but this is a very good starting point, I think.
More about Candu, Nuclear reactors
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