A growing demand for energy supply worldwide, coupled with the necessity to reduce emission of greenhouse gases, has led to a renewed interest in nuclear energy as an alternative to fossil fuels for electricity production in the last years. One of the main drawbacks to the development of nuclear energy as a power source has traditionally been the problem of waste disposal. Thermal reactors have a limited capability to burn the minor actinides (such as Np, Am and Cm) which are formed by neutron capture under irradiation and represent the main source of today's nuclear waste problem. Two waste management options are currently available: spent fuel is either conditioned for final storage or it is recycled to extract reusable materials like uranium and plutonium before the remaining materials are vitrified for storage.
This book explores a third option: the partitioning of minor actinides from the spent fuel, followed by their transmutation to produce short-lived fission products. Such technologies exploit the waste in a practical and valuable way. The book presents the high-temperature thermodynamic studies of the transuranium oxides and their solid solutions, obtained from the vapor pressure measurements at high temperatures on actinide oxide samples using a Knudsen cell coupled with a mass spectrometer. The experimental work was complemented by thermodynamic evaluations and modelling. Each chapter is dedicated to a systematic study on actinide oxide and constitutes a paper which has been already published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.