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41f Development of a Continuous Cost Effective Kr Xe Capture Process for Nuclear Fuels Reprocessing

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0023914
Agency Tracking Number: 0000274068
Amount: $206,500.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: C56-41f
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0002903
Timeline
Solicitation Year: 2023
Award Year: 2023
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2023-07-10
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2024-04-09
Small Business Information
657 South Mechanic Street
Pendleton, SC 29670-1808
United States
DUNS: 112087726
HUBZone Owned: Yes
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Bogdan Zdyrko
 (864) 646-6282
 bogdan.zdyrko@tetramer.com
Business Contact
 Adam Haldeman
Phone: (864) 646-6282
Email: adam.haldeman@tetramer.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract

Nuclear energy is one of the most favorable and cheapest alternatives to fossil fuels, and it can be scaled
up to meet global energy demands. The mass deployment of nuclear energy as a low-emissions source
requires the reprocessing of used nuclear fuel to recover fissile materials and mitigate radioactive waste. A
major concern with reprocessing used nuclear fuel is the release of gaseous radionuclides such as iodine,
tritium and krypton that evolve into the reprocessing facility off-gas in parts per million concentrations. For
the fuel reprocessing process to be feasible, effective radionuclides separation processes must be
developed.Upon completion of this research program, Tetramer will have developed an effective separation process
for Xe/Kr from nuclear fuel dissolver off-gas streams. The proposed approach will utilize selective sorbents
based on metal organic framework and/or zeolites. To achieve project goals, sorbents will be screened and
formulated into a structured form suitable for practical separation processes. After sorbents
characterization, the separation process will be modelled to find the optimized conditions. Finally, the
separation process will be demonstrated on lab scale.
At the end of this Phase I, Tetramer anticipates demonstrating a continuous, cost-effective adsorption
process for Xe and Kr from nuclear fuel dissolver off-gas streams with new structured sorbent materials
and modeling a multi-stage Xe/Kr separation process.During Phase I, a separation process for the concentration of Xe and Kr from nuclear fuel dissolver off-gas
streams will be developed through three objectives. In the first objective, a suitable material will be selected
for utilization in Xe/Kr separation. After characterization, the selected adsorbent material will be formulated
into a structured sorbent material for practical Xe/Kr separations. The second objective will focus on
modelling of the separation process. The third objective will demonstrate the separation process on lab
scale.
The performance and technoeconomic feasibility of the process will be evaluated based on the data
collected from the combined Phase I Objectives. The development, optimization, and prototype
demonstration of the structured sorbent materials and complete multi-stage process will be proposed for
the Phase II program.Currently the United States does not reprocess spent nuclear fuel and utilizes a “once through” nuclear
cycle approach. The potential to reprocess nuclear fuel would significantly reduce the waste generation
from nuclear energy and could even allow for an additional nuclear fuel cycle to generate additional energy.
One of the critical challenges that must be met to enable nuclear fuel reprocessing is the selective capture
of Xe/Kr from off-gas during shearing and dissolving of spent fuel rods. The technology developed through
this SBIR program will dramatically improve the economics of Xe/Kr separation and reduce the volume of
radioactive Kr gas that must be stored, enhancing the feasibility of closed nuclear fuel cycles.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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