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Depleted Uranium Dioxide Waste Package for Spent Nuclear Fuel

  • Charles W. Forsberg (a1) and Leslie R. Dole (a1)


Depleted uranium dioxide (DUO2) waste packages (WPs) for disposal of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) are being investigated to (1) reduce radionuclide releases from WPs, (2) decrease the potential for repository nuclear criticality events, (3) provide radiation shielding, and (4) provide a means to beneficially use excess depleted uranium (DU). The DUO2 is incorporated into the WP as (1) a particulate fill for void spaces within the package and (2) a component of a DUO2-steel cermet (DUO2 embedded in steel) that replaces the steel components of the WP. Depending upon the design, there is 3 to 8 times as much DUO2 as SNF UO2 in the WP. Most radionuclides in the SNF cannot be released until the UO2 crystal structure is destroyed. The DUO2 surrounding the SNF slows the degradation of the SNF UO2 in the interior. This behavior is similar to the mechanisms that slow the degradation of natural uranium ore bodies containing UO2. The results of initial investigations and the expected thermodynamic WP behavior are described.



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Additional information (including references) on DU applications in a geological repository can be found at the following URL: “”

1. Owen, J., Potential Disposal of Depleted Uranium in the YMP Subsurface Repository, Yucca Mountain Project, U.S. Department of Energy, Las Vegas, Nevada, July 27, 1999.
2. Leeds, E. J., “Comments on DUF6 Materials Use Roadmap,” Dated September 1, 2000, Letter to the U.S. Department of Energy from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, ML003762080, NRC Public Reading Room, Bethesda, Maryland. October 18, 2000.
3. Forsberg, C. W., Nucl. Technol. 131, 252 (September 2000).
4. Forsberg, C. W., Shappert, L. B., Byrne, P., and Broadhead, B., “Cermet Transport, Storage, and Disposal Packages Using Depleted Uranium Dioxide and Steel,” Proc. 13th Inter. Symp. on the Packaging and Transport of Radioactive Materials, Chicago, Illinois, Institute of Nuclear Materials Management, September 2001.
5. Keller, D. L. in Reactor Handbook, 2nd ed., vol. 1, ed. by Tipton, C. R. Jr, . (Wiley Interscience, New York, 1960) pp. 304330.
6. U.S. Department of Energy, “Total System Performance Assessment-Viability Assessment Analysis Technical Basis Document,” B00000000-01717-4301-00006, Rev. 01, 1998.
7. Rechard, R., “Dissolved Concentration Component of Waste form Model in TSPA-SR,” in 2001 International High-Level Radioactive Waste Management Conference, Las Vegas, Nevada, April 29–May 3, 2001, American Nuclear Society, La Grange Park, Illinois, May 2001.
8. Crosthwaite, J. L., The Performance, Assessment, and Ranking of Container Design Options for the Canadian Nuclear Fuel Waste Management Program, COG-93-410, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited 1994.

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Depleted Uranium Dioxide Waste Package for Spent Nuclear Fuel

  • Charles W. Forsberg (a1) and Leslie R. Dole (a1)


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