A new fuel reprocessing system by U-Pu co-crystallization process is proposed and examined by flowsheet analysis. This reprocessing system is based on the fact that hexavalent plutonium in nitric acid solution is co-crystallized with uranyl nitrate, whereas it is not crystallized when uranyl nitrate does not exist in the solution. The system consists of five steps: dissolution of spent fuel, plutonium oxidation, U-Pu co-crystallization as a co-decontamination, re-dissolution of the crystals, and U re-crystallization as a U-Pu separation. The system requires a recycling of the mother liquor from the U-Pu co-crystallization step and the appropriate recycle ratio is determined by flowsheet analysis such that the satisfactory decontamination is achieved. Further flowsheet study using four different compositions of LWR spent fuels demonstrates that the constant ratio of plutonium to uranium in mother liquor from the re-crystallization step is achieved for every composition by controlling the temperature. It is also demonstrated by comparing to the Purex process that the size of the plant based on the proposed system is significantly reduced.

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