Spent Nuclear Fuel Management
Spent nuclear fuel is the product of the process of electricity production in nuclear power plants. Spent nuclear fuel management belongs to the most challenging areas of nuclear energy industry in terms of environmental protection and the economy of fuel cycle.
Phases of Spent Nuclear Fuel Management:
- Short term storage in nuclear power plant – in pools of main reactor building in the vicinity of the reactor (min. 3 years),
- Long term storage in specialized facilities, the so-called interim storages (50 years and more),
- Final disposal
Open and Closed Fuel Cycle
After partial cooling in the storage pool, there are two ways of further treatment of spent fuel assemblies used. At open fuel cycle these fuel assemblies are moved to the long term storage and wait for their final disposal in a repository or for reprocessing. In case of a closed fuel cycle the spent fuel is reprocessed, fissile materials uranium and plutonium are used again for fuel manufacturing and fission products are treated into a form suitable for final disposal.
At present, the open fuel cycle is applied in the Slovak Republic.