E. Gonzalez, “Closing the Fuel Cycle with a CANDU Reactor: A Feasibility Study of Recycling Used Fuel by Reprocessing and Re-Enriching to Determine the Impact on Nuclear Nonproliferation Resistance”, M.S. Thesis, Nuclear Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX (2023).
The proliferation resistance analysis of re-processing and re-enriching spent uranium fuel discharged from a Canadian Deuterium Uranium (CANDU) reactor with regards to the accumulation of U-236 and Pu-238 was conducted. Reduction in the spent fuel waste on reactor sites and at interim storage facilities can be achieved based on the analysis carried out on the recycling of used fuel after re-processing and re-enrichment. Without a long-term storage solution for spent fuel currently in place, a closed fuel cycle makes use of already existing processes to make this feasible. Additionally, spent fuel discharged from a Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) is found to serve as a potential source for fuel recycling in a CANDU reactor after it is re-processed and re-enriched. Both approaches of recycling spent nuclear fuel from CANDU reactor and PWR using CANDU reactor were extensively researched through multiple fuel burnup simulations within the reactor core using Monte Carlo N-Particle Transport code, MCNP6.2. The study showed that along with the reduction in waste comes an enhancement of the proliferation resistance. Therefore, increasing the difficulty for a proliferator to configure a nuclear explosive device (NED) from the spent fuel that is recycled multiple times in a CANDU reactor.