Küppers, W. Liebert, M. Sailer, "Realisierbarkeit der Verglasung von
Plutonium zusammen mit hochradioaktiven Abfällen sowie der Fertigung
von MOX-Lagerstäben zur Direkten Endlagerung als Alternativen zum Einsatz
von MOX-Brennelementen", Öko-Institut, 1999, 113 pages, 20 DM.
the dangers and costs of MOX use, the Öko-Institut has investigated
the possibilities and feasibility of the final storage of plutonium.
The total amount
of plutonium in Germany by the end of 1997 came to 74 tons, with an
annual increase of about 4.5 tons, of which 36 tons in separated form
(26 to 29 tons are stored). The use of plutonium in MOX fuel increases
technical risks as well as higher costs than uranium oxide fuel. Four
methods for the final storage of plutonium have been investigated in
Two methods call
for vitrification, one direct vitrification process called "can-in-canister"
(planned to be used in the USA for excess weapon grade plutonium treated
in ceramic form inside special steel made canisters) and one vitrification
process with fission products (requiring the construction of a new facility).
The two other methods,
so called storage rods, are based on mixed oxide ceramic rods associated
with spent fuel rods within designed storage elements. These two latter
methods have the advantage of being feasible in the existing MOX facilities,
using the MOX transportation structures, and therefore provide reduced
costs. They would allow the treatment of 3,3 to 7 tons of plutonium
each year, using only the existing amount of irradiated fuel in Germany.
of final storage is claimed to be guaranteed with regard to the safety
and criticality levels in all these processes; the future final storage
repository has to be designed anyway for vitrified plutonium as well
as for storage rods.
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