University of Minnesota
Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics
Fall 2002 Seminar Series

Accelerator Transmutation of Waste and the Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative

Dr. Denis Beller

Harry Reid Center for Environmental Studies, University of Nevada, Las Vegas


During the 1990s scientists and engineers at Los Alamos National Laboratory developed the basis for Accelerator-driven Transmutation of Waste (ATW) from used nuclear reactor fuel. That basis was used in 1998 and 1999 by the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a roadmap for Congress for research, development, demonstration, and deployment of ATW. The concept of ATW is being examined in the U.S. because removal of plutonium and minor actinides from the used fuel, as well as iodine and technetium--two very long-lived (roughly one million year half-life) isotopes that are candidates for transport into the environment via ground water movement--could achieve some important objectives. Plutonium would be nearly eliminated, the inventory and mobility of long-lived radionuclides in the repository would be reduced, and the energy content of the used fuel could instead be exploited in producing power. In this presentation Dr. Beller will discuss current philosophy for accelerator-driven transmutation, physics and other bases of transmutation, technology advances, and R&D challenges. He will describe ongoing research and development initiatives at the national laboratories and universities, as well as international collaborations. Past, current, and future academic and international participation--including $6M in research programs at Idaho State and UNLV--that is critical to the success of this project will be presented. He will also discuss alternate deployment scenarios (multi-tier approaches) in view of a renaissance in the U.S. nuclear industry and a change in recycling philosophy, and will report the current status of the Advanced Fuel Cycle (AFC or AFCI) program.

Monday, September 23, 2002
227 Akerman Hall
2:30-3:30 p.m.

Refreshments served after the seminar in 227 Akerman Hall.
Disability accomodations provided upon request.
Contact Kristal Belisle, Senior Secretary, 625-8000.