Strategies and Considerations for the Back End of the Fuel Cycle
16 February 2021
Strategies and Considerations for the Back End of the Fuel Cycle Nuclear Technology Development and Economics 2021 Strategies and Considerations for the Back End of the Fuel Cycle NEA Strategies and Considerations for the Back end of the Fuel Cycle Nuclear Technology Development and Economics Strategies and Considerations for the Back End of the Fuel Cycle © OECD 2021 NEA No. [...] In this regard, this report explores the fuel cycle options and the differentiating characteristics of the options, and decision drivers related to both the development of the fuel cycle and the characteristics resulting from implementing the option. [...] In 2013, the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) published The Economics of the Back End of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle (NEA, 2013) providing a review of the relative costs of various nuclear fuel cycle options, which found that the costs associated with advanced fuel cycles were only slightly higher than the once-through cycle and within the uncertainty bands when the front-end uranium savings are taken into. [...] Types of expertise needed include geologists to study and model the behaviour of the repository, health physicists to address issues related to the radioactive nature of the SNF and HLW, and engineers to design the packages and the system of barriers to be used. [...] The size of the repository and the time frame for waste isolation differs depending upon the option under consideration, with short- (for decades) to medium-term (for hundreds of years) decay heat driving repository size and long-term (millennium scale) radiotoxicity driving the time required for the radiotoxicity of waste in the repository to decay to the level of natural uranium.