Uranium & Fuel

Canada / OPG And Moltex Launch Project To Recycle Used Fuel From Candu Reactors

By David Dalton
31 March 2021

OPG And Moltex Launch Project To Recycle Used Fuel From Candu Reactors
Pickering is one of three nuclear power stations owned by OPG. The company has a total of 18 Candu reactors.
Ontario Power Generation’s Centre for Canadian Nuclear Sustainability (CCNS) has joined forces with Moltex Energy on a project aimed at recycling used fuel from Candu reactors.

CCNS will provide CAD1m (€680,000) in funding to help Canada-based Moltex demonstrate the technical viability of a new process to recycle used Candu fuel.

When removed from an operating reactor, used Candu fuel still contains energy in the form of fissionable uranium and plutonium isotopes, which cannot be used without removing fission products. Moltex’s process would recover these energy resources and prepare them for use as new fuel in other advanced reactor designs, potentially reducing the volume of the material requiring long-term storage in a deep geological repository.

The project would contribute to the development of Moltex’s “waste to stable salt” (WATSS) technology, which the company says could lead to a more sustainable form of nuclear power.

New Brunswick utility NB Power is interested in developing and potentially siting the first WATSS facility to power a 300 MW stable salt reactor – wasteburner (SSR-W) at the Point Lepreau nuclear power station site in Saint John, New Brunswick.

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories is supporting the design, construction and optimisation of the testing apparatus. The University of New Brunswick is involved in the project in a research and testing capacity.

The project has received significant federal funding support and the first plant could be online in the early 2030s.

The Candu (Canada Deuterium Uranium) is a Canadian pressurised heavy-water reactor design. All of Canada’s 19 nuclear reactors are of the Candu design. Other nations with Candu reactors include Argentina, China, India, South Korea, Pakistan, and Romania. India has 16 “Candu derivatives”.

OPG owns three nuclear power stations in Ontario. They are Bruce (eight units), Darlington (four units) and Pickering (six units).

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