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Environmental analysis of zirconium alloy production
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Applied Nuclear Physics.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The generation of electricity in light water nuclear power plants uses zirconium alloys as the primary containment and cladding of the nuclear fuel. The environmental impacts of the production of zirconium alloys have been analyzed form a lifecycle perspective. From the mining of the zirconium-bearing mineral zircon to the finished zirconium alloy tube. A qualitative study indentifying the production processes and their potential environmental impacts have been performed. A quantitative study to perform a lifecycle analysis of the zircon mining and mineral separation was carried out. The life cycle analysis for the zircon mining was compared to the current lifecycle analysis (LCA) in Vattenfall's Forsmark nuclear power plant environmental product declaration (EPD). The results showed that the additional impact on Forsmark's EPD, when including the mining of zircon, is below 0.1% of the current levels for all parameters analyzed. A lifecycle analysis for the production of zirconium metal and zirconium alloy tube could not be performed due to lack of data from the zirconium metal industry. The major direct emissions from the zircon mining industry are related to the use of fossile fuels in machinery. The major direct emissions from the zirconium metal manufactoring industry are related to the use of acids.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 80 p.
UPTEC F, ISSN 1401-5757 ; 11061
Keyword [en]
Zirconium alloy production, environmental analysis, zircon mining
National Category
Environmental Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-166178OAI: diva2:475527
Educational program
Master Programme in Engineering Physics
Available from: 2012-01-23 Created: 2012-01-10 Last updated: 2012-01-23Bibliographically approved

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