Fuel Cycle
R&D Activities > Fuel Cycle
KAERI is focusing its efforts on the development of nuclear fuel
cycle technology for the reuse and safe disposal of spent fuels.

Pyroprocess Technology

Pyroprocess Technology
KAERI is focusing its efforts on the development of pyroprocess technology, which separates and refines various nuclear materials contained in spent fuels with an electrochemical method at a high temperature. Utilization of this technology can substantially reduce the volume and the footprint of repository site of spent fuels discharged from nuclear power plants, and the separated and refined materials can be used in fast reactors. Furthermore, its proliferation resistance has been internationally recognized due to the impossibility to recover pure plutonium.

  • Theoretically, reducing the high-level waste repository space for the waste disposal and radiotoxicity decay time up to 1/100 and 1/1000, respectively
  • Construction of an Advanced spent fuel Conditioning Process Facility (ACPF)
  • Securing international transparency for the nuclear material handling process
  • Participating in joint collaborative research programs with the USA, IAEA to secure technological feasibility, economical viability, and non-proliferation acceptability of pyroprocessing (2011 ~ 2020)

Direct Use of spent PWR fuel In CANDU reactors(DUPIC)

Direct Use of spent PWR fuel In CANDU reactors(DUPIC)
KAERI is developing environment-friendly nuclear fuel cycle technology, with which spent PWR fuels are refabricated and reused in CANDU reactors. Utilization of this technology, called the Direct Use of a spent PWR fuel In CANDU reactors(DUPIC), can substantially reduce the ever increasing volume of spent fuels and help save on natural uranium resources.

KAERI has developed the remote fabrication technology for DUPIC fuel and succesfully proved its performance. DUPIC fuel fabrication technology is an internationally recognized technology for its proliferation resistance and safety as the whole process is operated in a hot cell with remote technologies.

  • Development of remote fabrication technology for the DUPIC fuel
  • Proving its performance with irradiation examinations in a research reactor
  • Reducing high-level radioactive wastes and saving on natural uranium resources
  • Solving the problem regarding the storage of spent fuels

High-level Waste Disposal Research

High-level Waste Disposal Research
KAERI is developing disposal technologies for spent fuels and the high-level radioactive wastes produced during the process of a spent fuel treatment.

A geological disposal technology to place high-level radwastes in corrosion resistant metal containers and seal and separate them in deep and stable underground caverns is a prerequisite.

KAERI is conducting research on the development of a disposal system suitable for the Korean environment and on a verification of its safety for high-level radioactive wastes. To this end, an underground disposal research facility was constructed in November 2006.

  • Construction of the KAERI Underground Research Tunnel (KURT)
  • Development of an engineered barrier system composed of a disposal container, a buffer material and a back-filling material
  • Prevention of the release of radioactive materials to the environment by introducing a multi-layer barrier concept
  • Research on the underground water behavior of a rock floor