The Department of Energy (DOE) sponsored a workshop on nuclear separations technologies in Bethesda, Maryland, on July 27 and 28, 2011, to (1) identify common needs and potential requirements in separations technologies and opportunities for program partnerships, and (2) evaluate the need for a DOE nuclear separations center of knowledge to improve cross- program collaboration in separations technology. The workshop supported Goal 3 of the DOE Strategic Plan to enhance nuclear security through defense, nonproliferation, and environmental management. The Office of Environmental Management
(EM), Office of Nuclear Energy (NE), and National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) jointly sponsored the workshop. The Office of Science (SC), which performs fundamental research in relevant areas, also participated. The workshop attracted 133 attendees from national laboratories, academia, industry, DOE oversight and advisory organizations, sponsoring offices and the international community.
The workshop included four breakout sessions with program-related topical areas covering a broad range of separations activities. The topics also span the range of DOE-defined Technical Readiness Levels (TRLs) where the lower readiness levels are less mature technology (more basic research and development [R&D]) and the higher numbers are more mature (more deployable) technology (see Figure 2). The breakout session topics were as follows:
- Chemistry and Speciation of the Actinides and Key Fission Products (Cs, Tc, I)
- Design of Molecules and Materials with Selective Separation Properties
- Scale-up of Separation Processes from Bench-Top to Plant
- Interface Synergies between Separations, Waste Management, and Fuel Fabrication