D&D of uranium conversion facility (UCF)

The uranium conversion facility (UCF) located at KAERI was operated from 1982 to 1992. After the localization of nuclear fuel fabrication technol­ogy, it was shut down in 1993. UCF decommissioning began in 2001 and radioactive waste from UCF has been stored in a temporary storage build­ing in the conversion facility. All the wastes are contaminated mainly with natural uranium. Currently, the dismantling of 26 out of 27 rooms at UCF has been conducted (Fig. 21.14) , including decontamination of concrete surfaces, removal of contaminated soil, and completion of treatment of sludge waste in a lagoon.

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21.12 Procedures for the treatment of contaminated wastes.

 

21.13 KRR-1 and 2 and decommissioning status of KRR-2.

 

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(2001)

 

(2011)

 

21.14 Decommissioning of UCF.

 

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Research achievements to date are:

• development of volume reduction technology for large amounts of radi­oactive concrete wastes

• development of soil decontamination technology for remediation of nuclear sites after decommissioning

• development of melting technology for decontamination of a hundred tons of slightly contaminated metallic wastes generated from KRR-1 and 2 and UCF

• development of technologies for safe management of irradiated graph­ite arising from decommissioning of KRR-1 and 2

• development of a database system for management and data assessment from D&D activities

• development of chemical decontamination technology applicable to metal wastes contaminated with UN (uranium nitride), AUC (ammo­nium uranyl carbonate), and UO2 generated by dismantling UCF

• development of the safety assessment methodology of the decommis­sioning process

• simultaneous remote measurement of alpha/beta contamination in highly contaminated facility

• decontamination technology development

• waste treatment technology development.

Major R&D activities are now concentrated on development of the decommissioning waste reduction and recycling technology for commercial NPPs and nuclear facilities.

21.5 Conclusion

Given the scarcity of Korea ’s primary energy resources, nuclear power is vitally important as an engine of growth for the nation. Korea has followed a set of consistent policies and executed steady plans to expand nuclear power. With a significant share of nuclear power in the energy mix, the disposal of RAW and SF is looming large as a high-visibility national issue. A low-and intermediate-level waste disposal site has been selected and the facilities are currently under construction with its full operation expected in 2014. Spent fuel management has also become imminent. Although no satisfactory resolution is in sight in the foreseeable future, various options are being studied with the government ’s keen interest and full support. Korea has also designed a rigorous process for decontaminating waste materials.

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