A wealth of technical information exists on nuclear fuel cycle options – combinations of nuclear fuel types, reactor types, used or spent nuclear fuel (SNF) treatments, and disposal schemes – and most, if not all, countries with active nuclear power programmes conduct some level of research and development on advanced nuclear fuel cycles. However, perhaps because of the number of options that exist, it is often difficult for policy makers to understand the nature and magnitude of the differences between the various options.
In this regard, this report explores the fuel cycle options and the differentiating characteristics of the options, and decision drivers related to both the development of the fuel cycle and the characteristics resulting from implementing the option. This publication has been prepared on the basis of information on the current situation of each country represented in the expert group including the current status and future plans for power reactors, reprocessing facilities, disposal facilities, and the status of research and development activities. This report is designed for policy makers to understand the differences among the fuel cycle options in a way that is concise, understandable, and based on the existing technologies, while keeping technical discussions to a minimum.