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Plutonium used at Japanese reactor will be glassed, stored at Savannah River Site

Plutonium used at Japanese reactor will be glassed, stored at Savannah River Site, Aiken Standard, By Colin Demarest, Mar 17, 2021 

The National Nuclear Security Administration has decided a cache of plutonium sent from Japan years ago will be processed and disposed of for the foreseeable future at the Savannah River Site, a change of plans with local ramifications.

Up to 350 kilograms of stainless steel-clad plutonium from a Japanese reactor will be rid of using a slew of Savannah River Site facilities, tech and staff, recent federal documents show.

The Fast Critical Assembly fuel – already at the Savannah River Site – will be processed and dissolved at H-Canyon, a one-of-a-kind separations facility built in the 1950s. The material will then go to the tank farms, where millions of gallons of waste is stored.

After that, it will move to the Defense Waste Processing Facility, a mammoth plant that encases nuclear sludge in glass, making it safer to handle and stow long-term. The glass cylinders will ultimately go to an on-site storage building, where they will stay pending the availability of a dedicated depot, like Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

The entire endeavor will take years. And Japan is helping defray the cost.

“NNSA had an agreement with Japan for us to dispose of Fast Critical Assembly” material, Savannah River Site manager Michael Budney said Monday. “And Japan is paying to put an electrolytic dissolver back in the canyon.” ……

The plutonium was previously slated to be handled and treated at the Savannah River Site and entombed at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico, a repository resembling a salt mine. “Direct disposal of the FCA materials” at the Savannah River Site is a “sound option,” said SRS Watch Director Tom Clements, but it drums up some other questions………..

March 19, 2021 - Posted by | - plutonium, Japan, USA

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