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Proceedings Paper

Application Of High Power Lasers To Problems In The Nuclear Fuel Cycle
Author(s): J. H. Birely; D. C. Cartwright; J. G. Marinuzzi
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Paper Abstract

The need for expanded sources of energy in the immediate future is of worldwide concern, and in the near term, nuclear energy is one of the few methods having the proven capability of fulfulling these needs. A brief review of existing projections of national energy demand and the resulting requirements for expanded uranium enrichment capacity, coupled with a comparison of the economics of providing this addtional enrichment capacity [by methods of gaseous diffusion, centrifugation and laser isotope separation (LIS)], in-dicates potential savings of billions of dollars between now and the year 2000 if LIS performs as predicted. Laser methods also appear to offer solutions in the equally important fuel cycle problem areas of deuterium enrichment and nuclear fuel reprocessing. We have reviewed recent experimental LIS results obtained using the methods of single- and multiple-photon dissociation and laser-induced chemical reaction employing a single laser. Also discussed are recent experiments on several- and multiple-photon methods that employed more than one laser wavelength. For each of these processes, methods are given for estimating the minimum laser requirements. Also discussed are the projected it and uv laser requirements to proceed from scientific proof-of-principle, through medium-size scaling experi-ments, to the full-sized uranium enrichment plant for a two-step photodissociation process currently under investigation in our laboratory.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 July 1976
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 0076, Ultra High Power Lasers for Practicable Applications, (21 July 1976); doi: 10.1117/12.954767
Show Author Affiliations
J. H. Birely, Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory (United States)
D. C. Cartwright, Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory (United States)
J. G. Marinuzzi, Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0076:
Ultra High Power Lasers for Practicable Applications
LeRoy E. Wilson, Editor(s)

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