Skip navigation
Nuclear Safeguards Education Portal

Characteristics of Spent Nuclear Fuel

Fuel assemblies (which eventually become spent fuel assemblies) come in a variety of configurations depending on the reactor type for which the assembly is designed.  While the external structure remains constant, the isotopic content of fuel assemblies changes dramatically during use in a nuclear reactor.  During reactor operation, fission of nuclear fuel and irradiation of structural materials creates highly radioactive fission and activation products.  The emitted radiation is another characteristic of spent nuclear fuel.

Page 2 / 43