The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report last week detailing used fuel options for the United States as reviewed by the Department of Energy (DOE) titled, “NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE OPTIONS: DOE Needs to Enhance Planning for Technology Assessment and Collaboration with Industry and Other Countries.”
Beginning on page 46 is a 12-page analysis and commentary of AREVA’s used nuclear fuel recycling process in France, including a graphic (pg. 52) summarizing the process fuel output and waste generated. This section highlights the fact that about 96% of the energy in used nuclear fuel can be recycled, and this recycling reduces by around 75% the physical amount of leftover fuel needing long-term storage. In France, both recycled uranium and plutonium are used as fuel in reactors and reliably provide the French with the lowest cost electricity in Europe without carbon emissions.
With the ongoing U.S. used nuclear fuel debate in mind, we encourage you to review the report [PDF link] and learn more about the benefits gained by implementing the complete nuclear fuel process here in the United States.