NE Mini-Seminars: Wisdom for Fuel Processing and Nuclear Nonproliferation AND Disposition of Foreign and Domestic Research Reactor Fuels at the Savannah River Site H Canyon Facility

Date(s) - 09/14/2023
1:55 pm - 2:55 pm

Rhines Hall 125



The mission of the Non-proliferation Stewardship Program (NSP) is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons while promoting cooperation for the peaceful use of nuclear technology. To achieve this goal, a multi-national laboratory (ANL, INL, PNNL, and SRNL) project called Athena was established to steward plutonium processing competency. These laboratories are working in tandem to retain the capability to process actinides and leverage that knowledge for other applications.

This work has allowed researchers from various national laboratories to visit each other and participate in process demonstrations that use various solvent extraction equipment. Therefore, this talk will also briefly discuss some of SRNL’s contributions to the Athena program in using unique mini-mixer settler with centrifugal contactors to process surrogate spent nuclear fuel.


Jarrod Gogolski, Ph.D.

Senior Engineer
Savannah River National Laboratories

Dr. Jarrod Gogolski has primarily studied nuclear fuel dissolution and solvent extraction flowsheets. He is a nuclear engineer by training, with a strong radiochemistry focus – predominantly with Np and Pu separations. He contributes to a variety of projects to support SRNL’s core competencies and missions: formation of solids from dissolved nuclear fuel, recovery of uranium from U-10Mo fuel, PuO2 interactions with fire extinguishants, dissolution of U-Al alloy surrogates in a variety of inorganic acids, metal oxide dissolution in organic liquids, etc.


The H-Canyon facility at the Savannah River Site (SRS) is the only large-scale spent nuclear fuel (SNF) reprocessing plant still operating in the United States. However, a recent pivot in the facility mission was made to expedite the disposal of SNF stored at the site.

Highly enriched foreign and domestic aluminum-clad research reactor fuels are dissolved, down-blended with depleted uranium to less than 5 wt % uranium-235, combined with a neutron absorbing poison, neutralized, and discarded to the SRS high-level waste tank farm for subsequent vitrification in the Defense Waste Processing Facility. The Savannah River National Laboratory is supporting the direct disposal of the SNF in each area of the disposition flowsheet. Development of dissolution processes for the aluminum-clad fuels, including the prediction of the hydrogen generation rate from aluminum dissolution and the controls necessary to ensure the hydrogen concentration does not exceed 25% of the lower flammability limit, will be highlighted.

Recent work to evaluate the co-precipitation of neutron poisons and fissile materials during neutralization will also be discussed.

A potential mechanism for the precipitation of fissile materials during the storage of solutions containing SNF in H-Canyon tanks prior to neutralization will be proposed for future study.


Tracy Rudisill

Laboratory Fellow
Savannah River National Laboratories

Tracy Rudisill is a Laboratory Fellow in the Separations and Actinide Science group at the Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) with 39 years of experience in nuclear materials R&D. In this position, Tracy has performed R&D activities associated with most uranium, neptunium, plutonium, americium, and curium processing activities at the Savannah River Site (SRS). His research focuses on separation processes associated with the nuclear fuel cycle and processes used to recover, purify, and isolate actinide materials. Tracy works as a principal investigator for the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Nuclear Energy Fuel Cycle Technologies program, leads both the SRNL aqueous processing support provided to potential molybdenum-99 producers through the DOE National Nuclear Security Association’s (NNSA’s) national laboratory assistance program and the aqueous process development for the NNSA’s High-Performance Research Reactor fuel scrap recovery program. Tracy also leads the team of SRNL researchers who support used fuel processing in the SRS H-Canyon facility. Tracy serves as the SRNL technical lead for the Athena project, which is supported by the DOE NNSA as a Nuclear Nonproliferation Stewardship program to mentor younger staff members in technology areas associated with the recovery of actinide materials from spent nuclear fuels.