Stephen B. Gerlt,
"Towards Safeguarding the Fast Breeder Reactor Fuel Cycle,"
NSSPI Report, NSSPI-14-001 (2014).
With increasing international interest in closed fuel cycles, it
is highly probable that the technology for a closed fuel cycle will
spread as the demand for it increases. However, there is
another option open to countries that wish to have a closed fuel
cycle but find construction of reprocessing and/or fuel fabrication
facilities economically, technologically, or politically
unsound. Such countries then be forced to have their spent
thermal reactor fuel reprocessed externally in facilities run by
other nations, and potentially fabricated into fuel as well.
This carries several benefits for both the client nation and the
nation providing the service.
The reduction of the number of reprocessing and fuel
fabrication facilities in the world reduces overall risk of
proliferation due to fewer sites to be monitored by the IAEA and
fewer states having direct access to large-scale reprocessing
facilities. However, there would still be risks associated
with transport of fresh fuel containing plutonium (Pu) across the
border of countries. From an economical standpoint facilities
can be run at or near their capacity, ensuring for the processing
nation that their financial investment in the facility is being
maximized. For the client, delays associated with learning to
operate a new facility with potentially inexperienced personnel are
avoided, and in general fewer delays may be expected since the
processing nation is under contract to provide fuel in a timely
manner and will risk losing business if unable to keep their
schedule. This is a system that already has precedent; Japan
shipped spent fuel to France and the United Kingdom through 2001
and the United Arab Emirates signed a nuclear agreement that
included outsourcing most of its fuel cycle.
The objective of this report is to analyze a closed fuel cycle
portion in equilibrium, determine the facility most sensitive to
diversion, and develop a safeguards approach for said
facility. Particular attention will be paid to
instrumentation as a method of reducing the uncertainties
associated with safeguards measurements. Future reports should
develop approaches for other facilities, to assist in developing
effective and economical methods of enacting safeguards.
Associated Project(s):Technical Analyses of the U.S.-India Nuclear Accord