"Safeguards for Uranium Extraction (UREX) +1A Process,"
M.S. Thesis, Texas A & M University, May 2010.
As nuclear energy grows in the United States and around the
world, the expansion of the nuclear fuel cycle is inevitable. All
currently deployed commercial reprocessing plants are based on the
Plutonium - Uranium Extraction (PUREX) process. However, this
process is not implemented in the U.S. for a variety of reasons,
one being that it is considered by some as a proliferation risk.
The 2001 Nuclear Energy Policy report recommended that the U.S.
"develop reprocessing and treatment technologies that are cleaner,
more efficient, less waste-intensive, and more
proliferation-resistant." The Uranium Extraction (UREX+)
reprocessing technique has been developed to reach these goals.
However, in order for UREX+ to be considered for commercial
implementation, a safeguards approach is needed to show that a
commercially sized UREX+ facility can be safeguarded to current
international standards. A detailed safeguards approach for a
UREX+1a reprocessing facility has been developed. The approach
includes the use of nuclear material accountancy (MA), containment
and surveillance (C/S) and solution monitoring (SM). Facility
information was developed for a hypothesized UREX+1a plant with a
throughput of 1000 Metric Tons Heavy Metal (MTHM) per year.
Safeguard goals and safeguard measures to be implemented were
established. Diversion and acquisition pathways were considered;
however, the analysis focuses mainly on diversion paths. The
detection systems used in the design have the ability to provide
near real-time measurement of special fissionable material in feed,
process and product streams. Advanced front-end techniques for the
quantification of fissile material in spent nuclear fuel were also
considered. The economic and operator costs of these systems were
not considered. The analysis shows that the implementation of these
techniques result in significant improvements in the ability of the
safeguards system to achieve the objective of timely detection of
the diversion of a significant quantity of nuclear material from
the UREX+1a reprocessing facility and to provide deterrence against
such diversion by early detection.
Associated Project(s):Real-Time Detection Methods to Monitor TRU Composition in the UREX + Process Stream