For safety assessment analyses of the disposal of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) in deep geological repositories it is indispensable to evaluate the contribution of fission products to the instant release fraction (IRF). During the last three years the EURATOM FP7 Collaborative Project, “Fast / Instant Release of Safety Relevant Radionuclides from Spent Nuclear Fuel (CP FIRST-Nuclides)” was carried out to get a better understanding of the IRF.
Within CP FIRST-Nuclides, a leaching experiment with a cladded SNF pellet was performed in bicarbonate water (19 mM NaCl + 1 mM NaHCO3) under Ar /H2 atmosphere over 333 days. The cladded SNF pellet was obtained from a fuel rod segment which was irradiated in the Gösgen pressurized water reactor; the average burn-up of the segment was 50.4 MWd/kgUO2. In the multi-sampling experiment, gaseous and liquid samples were taken periodically. The moles of the fission gases Kr and Xe released in the gas phase and those of 129I and 137Cs released in solution were measured. Cumulative release fractions of (1.6 ± 0.2)·10-1 fission gases, (1.6 ± 0.1)·10-1 129I and (3.9 ± 0.2)·10-2 137Cs, respectively, were achieved after 333 days of leaching. Accordingly the release ratio of fission gases to 129I was 1:1 and the release ratio of fission gases to 137Cs was 4:1, respectively.