Novel gas-capture approach advances nuclear fuel management

Friday, July 24, 2020 - 15:09 in Physics & Chemistry

Nuclear energy provides about 20 percent of the U.S. electricity supply, and over half of its carbon-free generating capacity.    Operations of commercial nuclear reactors produce small quantities of spent fuel, which in some countries is reprocessed to extract materials that can be recycled as fuel in other reactors. Key to the improvement of the economics of this fuel cycle is the capture of gaseous radioactive products of fission such as 85krypton. Therefore, developing efficient technology to capture and secure 85krypton from the mix of effluent gasses would represent a significant improvement in the management of used nuclear fuels. One promising avenue is the adsorption of gasses into an advanced type of soft crystalline material, metal organic frameworks (MOFs), which have extremely high porosity and enormous internal surface area and can incorporate a vast array of organic and inorganic components. Recently published research by a multidisciplinary group that includes members of MIT’s Department...

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