Source: Oak Ridge Today | John Huotari | March 22, 2018

The reactor pool is pictured above in the reactor bay inside the High Flux Isotope Reactor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory on Thursday, March 15, 2018. Spent nuclear fuel is stored inside the pool. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)

For the first time in 30 years, spent nuclear fuel from the High Flux Isotope Reactor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory has been dissolved at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.

The work is important because it is expected to allow the reactor, known as HFIR, to continue its mission, according to the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management.

HFIR, which uses highly enriched uranium, is one of the world’s most powerful nuclear research reactor facilities. It’s the highest flux reactor-based source of neutrons for research in the United States. Flux refers to the rate of flow offluids, particles, or energy. In HFIR’s case, the flux is measured in neutrons per square centimeter per second. HFIR is used for neutron scattering and isotope production, among other missions.

ORNL will reach its maximum capacity for storing HFIR fuel in fiscal year 2020, the DOE Office of Environmental Management, or EM, said in an “EM Update” electronic newsletter on Tuesday.

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