The potential impact of hypothetical accidents that occur during the immediate and deferred dismantling of the Kori Unit 1 steam generator has been comprehensively evaluated. The evaluation includes determining the inventory of radionuclides in the Steam Generator based on surface contamination measurements, assuming a rate of release for each accident scenario, and applying external and internal exposure dose coefficients to assess the effects of radionuclides on human health. The evaluation also includes calculating the atmospheric dispersion factor using the PAVAN code and analyzing three years of meteorological data from Kori NPP to determine the degree of diffusion of radionuclides in the atmosphere. Overall, the effective dose for residents living in the Exclusion Area Boundary (EAB) of Kori NPP is predicted, an it is found that the maximum level of the dose is 0.034% compared to the annual dose limit of 1 mSv for the general public. This implies that the potential impact of hypothetical accidents on human health discussed above is within acceptable limits.
To ensure radiological safety margin in the transport and storage of spent nuclear fuel, it is crucial to perform source term and shielding analyses in advance from the perspective of conservation. When performing source term analysis on UO2 fuel, which is mostly used in commercial nuclear power plants, uranium and oxygen are basically considered to be the initial materials of the new fuel. However, the presence of impurities in the fuel and structural materials of the fuel assembly may influence the source term and shielding analyses. The impurities could be radioactive materials or the stable materials that are activated by irradiation during reactor power operation. As measuring the impurity concentration levels in the fuel and structural materials can be challenging, publicly available information on impurity concentration levels is used as a reference in this evaluation. To assess the effect of impurities, the results of the source term and shielding analyses were compared depending on whether the assumed impurity concentration is considered. For the shielding analysis, generic cask design data developed by KEPCO-E&C was utilized.
The emission of off-gas streams from used fuel recycling is a concern in nuclear energy usage as they contain radioactive compounds, such as, 3H, 14C, 85Kr, 131I, and 129I that can be harmful to human health and environment. Radioactive iodine, 129I, is particularly troublesome as it has a half-life of more than 15 million years and is prone to accumulate in human thyroid glands. Organic iodides are hazardous even at very low concentrations, and hence the capture of 129I is extremely important. Dynamic adsorption experiments were conducted to determine the efficiency of sodium mordenite, partially exchanged silver mordenite, and fully exchanged silver mordenite for the removal of methyl iodide present at parts per billion concentrations in a simulated off-gas stream. Kinetic analysis of the system was conducted incorporating the effects of diffusion and mass transfer. The possible reaction mechanism is postulated and the order of the reaction and the values of the rate constants were determined from the experimental data. Adsorbent characterization is performed to investigate the nature of the adsorbent before and after iodine loading. This paper will offer a comprehensive understanding of the methyl iodide behavior when in contact with the mordenites.
In the design of HLW repositories, it is important to confirm the performance and safety of buffer materials at high temperatures. Most existing models for predicting hydraulic conductivity of bentonite buffer materials have been derived using the results of tests conducted below 100°C. However, they cannot be applied to temperatures above 100°C. This study suggests a prediction model for the hydraulic conductivity of bentonite buffer materials, valid at temperatures between 100°C and 125°C, based on different test results and values reported in literature. Among several factors, dry density and temperature were the most relevant to hydraulic conductivity and were used as important independent variables for the prediction model. The effect of temperature, which positively correlates with hydraulic conductivity, was greater than that of dry density, which negatively correlates with hydraulic conductivity. Finally, to enhance the prediction accuracy, a new parameter reflecting the effect of dry density and temperature was proposed and included in the final prediction model. Compared to the existing model, the predicted result of the final suggested model was closer to the measured values.
Neutron resonance transmission technique was applied for assaying isotopic fissile materials produced in the pyro-process. In each process of the pyro-process, a different composition of the fissile material is produced. Simulation was basically performed on 235U and 239Pu assay for TRU-RE product, hull waste, and uranium addition. The resonance energies were evaluated for uranium and plutonium in the simulation, and the linearity in the detection response was examined on the fissile content variation. The linear resonance energies were determined for the analysis of 235U and 239Pu on the different fissile materials. For enriched TRU-RE assay, the sample condition was suggested; The sample density, content, and thickness are the key factors to obtain accurate fissile content. The detection signal is discriminated for uranium and plutonium in neutron resonance technique. The transmitted signal for fissile resonance has a direct relation with the content of fissile. The simulation results indicated that the neutron resonance technique is promising to analyze 235U and 239Pu for various types of the pyro-process material. An accurate fissile assay will contribute toward safeguarding the pyro-processing system.
According to NSSC Notice No. 2021-10, safety analysis needs to be introduced in the decommissioning plan. Public and occupational dose analyses should be conducted, specifically for unexpected radiological accidents. Herein, based on the risk matrix and analytic hierarchy process, the method of selecting accident scenarios during the decommissioning of nuclear power plants has been proposed. During decommissioning, the generated spent resin exhibits relatively higher activity than other generated wastes. When accidents occur, the release fraction varies depending on the conditioning method of radioactive waste and type of radioactive nuclides or accidents. Occupational dose analyses for 2 (fire and drop) among 11 accident scenarios have been performed. The radiation doses of the additional exposures caused by the fire and drop accidents are 1.67 and 4.77 mSv, respectively.
Compared to operational wastes, nuclear power plant (NPP) decommissioning wastes are generated in larger quantities within a short time and include diverse types with a wider range of radiation characteristics. Currently used 200 L drums and IP-2 type transport containers are inefficient and restrictive in packaging and transporting decommissioning wastes. Therefore, new packaging and transport containers with greater size, loading weight, and shielding performance have been developed. When transporting radioactive materials, radiological safety should be assessed by reflecting parameters such as the type and quantity of the package, transport route, and transport environment. Thus far, safety evaluations of radioactive waste transport have mainly targeted operational wastes, that have less radioactivity and a smaller amount per transport than decommissioning wastes. Therefore, in this study, the possible radiation effects during the transport from NPP to disposal facilities were evaluated to reflect the characteristics of the newly developed containers and decommissioning wastes. According to the evaluation results, the exposure dose to transport workers, handling workers, and the public was lower than the domestic regulatory limit. In addition, all exposure dose results were confirmed, through sensitivity analysis, to satisfy the evaluation criteria even under circumstances when radioactive materials were released 100% from the container.
A study was conducted on the vitrification of the rare earth oxide waste generated from the PyroGreen process. The target rare earth waste consisted of eight elements: Nd, Ce, La, Pr, Sm, Y, Gd, and Eu. The waste loading of the rare earth waste in the developed borosilicate glass system was 20wt%. The fabricated glass, processed at 1,200℃, exhibited uniform and homogeneous surface without any crystallization and precipitation. The viscosity and electrical conductivity of the melted glass at 1,200℃ were 7.2 poise and 1.1 S·cm−1, respectively, that were suitable for the operation of the vitrification facility. The calculated leaching index of Cs, Co, and Sr were 10.4, 10.6, and 9.8, respectively. The evaluated Product Consistency Test (PCT) normalized release of the glass indicated that the glass satisfied the requirements for the disposal acceptance criteria. Furthermore, the pristine, 90 days water immersed, 30 thermal cycled, and 10 MGy gamma ray irradiated glasses exhibited good compressive strength. The results indicated that the fabricated glass containing rare earth waste from the PyroGreen process was acceptable for the disposal in the repository, in terms of chemical durability and mechanical strength.
APro, developed in KAERI for the process-based total system performance assessment (TSPA) of deep geological disposal systems, performs finite element method (FEM)-based multiphysics analysis. In the FEM-based analysis, the mesh element quality influences the numerical solution accuracy, memory requirement, and computation time. Therefore, an appropriate mesh structure should be constructed before the mesh stability analysis to achieve an accurate and efficient process-based TSPA. A generic reference case of DECOVALEX-2023 Task F, which has been proposed for simulating stationary groundwater flow and time-dependent conservative transport of two tracers, was used in this study for mesh stability analysis. The relative differences in tracer concentration varying mesh structures were determined by comparing with the results for the finest mesh structure. For calculation efficiency, the memory requirements and computation time were compared. Based on the mesh stability analysis, an approach based on adaptive mesh refinement was developed to resolve the error in the early stage of the simulation time-period. It was observed that the relative difference in the tracer concentration significantly decreased with high calculation efficiency.
To broaden the utilization of nuclear energy, uranium as a fuel should be mined indispensably. Mining accounts for the largest portion of the cost of producing the uranium assembly. Therefore, this study analyzes the trends of uranium prices, which have a significant impacts on the mining cost. Uranium production contributing to the price fluctuations is explained in five periods from 1945 to the present. Moreover, the series of events affecting uranium prices from the 1970s until the present are verified. Among them, the most recent incidents considered in this study are the following: COVID-19 pandemic, Kazakhstan unrest, and Russia-Ukraine war. European countries have started to reconsider the transition to nuclear power to reduce their dependence on Russian oil and gas, which has contributed to the surge in uranium prices. Based on the results of this study, various international issues have been closely associated with the nuclear power industry and uranium, affecting the production of uranium and its price.