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Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, July 2008
Date:7/7/2008

To arrange for an interview with a researcher, please contact the Communications and External Relations staff member identified at the end of each tip. For more information on ORNL and its research and development activities, please refer to one of our Media Contacts. If you have a general media-related question or comment, you can send it to news@ornl.gov.

ENERGY -- Spent fuel pellets . . .

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers have made the first mixed-oxide pellets from recycled spent nuclear fuel in a process that doesn't produce a separate plutonium stream. The work is the result of the Coupled End-to-End Demonstration Project for the Department of Energy's Global Nuclear Energy Partnership. Program Manager Jeff Binder of the Nuclear Science and Technology Division said conventional reprocessing methods pull plutonium separately from the spent-fuel mix of actinides (uranium, neptunium and plutonium) and are a proliferation concern. Binder said the ORNL technique, called modified direct denitration, converts a uranium-neptunium-plutonium nitric acid solution to a solid-oxide form. Traditionally, actinides taken out of a nitric acid solution are in a glassy structure that has to be processed with steps such as milling and grinding. The solid-oxide powder from the modified direct denitration process can go right to pellet form. The process is the first separation of spent nuclear fuel where plutonium isn't pulled out by itself and the product material is taken directly to making a pellet. The work is supported by the Department of Energy's Office of Nuclear Energy. [Contact: Bill Cabage, (865) 574-4399; cabagewh@ornl.gov]

MATERIALS -- Simplifying complexity . . .

Tiny changes at the nanometer scale can have a colossal effect on the properties of a material, and for the first time researchers may have a method to see and even p
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Contact: Ron Walli
wallira@ornl.gov
865-576-0226
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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