The US Senate has approved a proposal for a USD15 million pilot programme to recycle used naval nuclear fuel for use as fuel in advanced nuclear reactors. The proposal – an amendment to the fiscal 2019 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill – was adopted by the full Senate by 87 votes to 9. Low-enriched uranium (LEU) fuel used in today’s nuclear power plants typically contains less than 5% of fissile uranium-235 (U-235), but many of the advanced reactor designs currently under development will require uranium fuel enriched to between 5% and 20% U-235, known as high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) fuel. Nuclear submarines use highly enriched uranium (HEU). Used nuclear fuel retains much of its fissile content, and the project would aim to demonstrate the blending down of used HEU fuel from the USA’s naval programme to produce useable HALEU. Such a project could potentially reduce the amounts of nuclear waste from the naval programme requiring disposal.
World Nuclear News 22nd June 2018 read more »