UI faculty member receives NEUP award

CAES-affiliated University of Idaho Nuclear Engineering Assistant Professor Haiyan Zhao received a $400,000 award through the Nuclear Energy University Program for a project she leads in collaboration with researchers from the University of Utah and University of Nebraska. The project’s objective is to improve fundamental understanding of the behavior of multicomponent fission products in eutectic chloride salts for pyroprocessing technology. Developed two decades ago by Argonne National Laboratory, the molten salt based pyroprocessing technology is the key for treating used nuclear fuels to close the nuclear fuel cycle. Throughout the process, the waste fission products from the used fuel (uranium and other heavy radioactive elements) are removed by electrorefining. The fission products including alkaline and rare earth elements in the used fuel ae dissolved as chlorides and accumulated in the used molten salt. Eventually, the concentration of these fission products increases to the point where the electrorefining must be moderated and shut down. This impacts the timing for salt treatment, recycle, and disposal. Most of the available data on this process is limited, making the timing hard to predict and simulate. This project will address that concern.

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