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The Cost of Reprocessing in China

Bunn, Matthew, and Zhang, Hui, and Kang, Li

Published by Harvard College, Harvard Kennedy School, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Cambridge, MA, 2016
Condition: Very good Soft cover
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[8], 84 pages plus covers. Footnotes. Tables. Illustrations (color). Cover has slight wear and soiling. This study is part of the Project on Managing the Atom series. The Project on Managing the Atom (MTA) conducts and disseminates policy-relevant research on nuclear weapons, nuclear energy, and nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. The project supports an international group of pre- and post-doctoral fellows and other experts working on these issues and helps to advance their research work through seminars, workshops, and conferences. The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs is the hub of Harvard Kennedy School's research, teaching, and training in international security and diplomacy, environmental and resource issues, and science and technology policy. In 2017, for the fourth year in a row, the Belfer Center was ranked the world's #1 University Affiliated Think Tank by University of Pennsylvania's Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program. The Center has a dual mission: (1) to provide leadership in advancing policy-relevant knowledge about the most important challenges of international security and other critical issues where science, technology, environmental policy, and international affairs intersect; and (2) to prepare future generations of leaders for these arenas. Building on the vision of founder Paul Doty, the Center integrates insights and research of social scientists, natural scientists, technologists, and practitioners in government, diplomacy, the military, and business. As it expands its fleet of nuclear power plants, China faces an important decision: whether to make large capital investments in facilities to reprocess spent nuclear fuel and recycle the resulting plutonium in fast-neutron reactors, or continue to store nuclear fuel, leaving for the future decisions on whether to reprocess the fuel or dispose of it as waste. This report summarizes estimates of the cost of current proposals for building and operating reprocessing plants and fast reactors in China. China has been considering both a reprocessing plant designed to reprocess 200 metric tons of heavy metal in spent fuel each year (200 tHM/yr) and one designed to process 800 tHM/yr. Both indigenous Chinese technology and purchase of a large reprocessing plant from France are being considered. At the same time, China is considering construction of a demonstration fast reactor and a commercial fast reactor. There, too, both indigenous Chinese technology and a purchase from abroad (in this case from Russia) have been considered. The background of China's program and the facilities being considered are described in Chapters 1 and 2. Using engineering extrapolations from China's existing 50 tHM/yr pilot plant, Chinese experts estimate that the cost of a 200 tHM/yr reprocessing plant using indigenous Chinese technology might be in the range of $3.2 billion (2014 $). By the same method, the cost of an 800 tHM/yr plant would be over $9 billion. These estimates are described in Chapter 3. Because of the uncertainties of extrapolating from the pilot plant experience, it is worth examining international experience as well. The costs of the French and British reprocessing plants, built long ago, are comparable to the estimates based on extrapolating from the pilot plant. The more recent experiences with the Japanese reprocessing plant at Rokkasho (with a capital cost of over $20 billion, many times the original estimate) and the U.S. plutonium-uranium mixed oxide (MOX) fuel fabrication plant (with a capital cost of over $7 billion, again many times the original estimate) suggest much higher costs. The ?20 billion price Areva has reportedly offered for the proposed 800 tHM/yr plant suggests that they believe costs for a Chinese plant will be closer to the Japanese experience than to the old French experience. These estimates are discussed in Chapter 4. Based on these estimates and this international experience, Table ES.1 shows high and low esti. Bookseller Inventory # 73677

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Cost of Reprocessing in China

Publisher: Harvard College, Harvard Kennedy School, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Cambridge, MA

Publication Date: 2016

Binding: Wraps

Book Condition: Very good

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