Helium & Fission Gas Behavior
in Magnesium Aluminate Spinel
& Zirconia for Actinide Transmutation

By Patricia Damen
December 2003
Delft University Press
ISBN: 90-407-2446-6
197 pages, Illustrated, 6 " x 9 "
$77.50 Paper Original

This is a Ph.D. dissertation. The International Energy Agency forecasts that the demand for total world energy will rise by two-thirds between now and 2030 and that energy-related carbon emissions will rise by 70% over the same period. If this increasing demand is to be met and at the same time the CO2-emission is to be limited, the use of nuclear power seems inevitable. It has the advantage of being a very clean source of energy form the point of view of CO2-emission, but the public opinion towards nuclear power remains nonetheless distrustful. On the one hand there is the fear of accidents; on the other hand there is the problem of the nuclear waste.

The former objection can be countered by improving the safety of the nuclear power plants by so-called inherent safety design. In such third-generation reactor designs passive safety measures are used, i.e. measures that rely fully on natural processes to prevent radiation release incidents and do not require human interaction. It is envisaged that in the near future these reactor types will come into operation on an industrial scale. The latter objection of the public is more difficult to counter: although the amount of nuclear waste in terms of mass or volume produced per year is low compared to that of coal or oil, part of the waste is highly radioactive and remains radiotoxic for millions of years. The concept of safe storage over such a period is difficult to grasp and worrisome for many. As the decay time of a nuclide itself cannot be altered, the present solutions to the waste problem therefore concentrate on transmuting long-lived radioactive nuclides to short-lived ones in order to shorten the waste storage and thereby increasing the safety of storage. The present thesis will present a study which intends to improve the transmutation cycle for radioactive waste.

Nuclear Power

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