Abstract

Under the geological disposal conditions, spent fuel (SF) is expected to evolve during the 10,000 years while being maintained isolated from the biosphere before water comes in. Under those circumstances, several driving forces would lead to the progressive intrinsic transformations within the rod which would modify the subsequent release of radionuclides: the production of a significant volume of He, the accumulation of irradiation defects, the slow migration of radionuclides (RN) within the pellet. However, the current RN source terms for SF never accounted for these evolutions and was based on the existing knowledge on the fresh SF. Two major mechanisms were considered, the leaching of the readily available fraction (one which was supposed to be instantly accessible to water), and the release of RN through alteration of the UO2 grains. We are now proposing a new RN source term model based on a microscopic description of the system in order to also account for the early evolution of the closed system, the amplitude of which increases with the burnup and is greater for MOX fuels.

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