What does WIPP have to do with the Advanced Accelerator Applications Program?

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Click here to see the Advanced Accelerator Applications Web Site at LANL
Go to the AAA Home Page

Authorized by Congress in 2001, the national  Advanced Accelerator Applications (AAA) program was created by DOE to address pressing nuclear issues facing the United States:
  • nuclear energy and waste management concerns
  • declining US nuclear infrastructure
  • global nuclear leadership
The AAA program is focused on three primary missions:

WIPP's Land Withdrawal Act (LWA) gives the Secretary of Enegy authority to use the WIPP land area for beneficial uses other than waste disposal.

While the prime mission of WIPP is to dispose of transuranic waste from the legacy of nuclear weapons production during the cold war, DOE will responsibly use the WIPP site for other purposes, as provided by the authority given in the Land Withdrawal Act of 1992 (P.L. 102-579).
  • Evaluate the technical feasibility and economic cost of using a particle accelerator to transmute the long-lived radioactive materials in spent nuclear fuel and simultaneously produce more energy in the process than consumed by the accelerator


All three elements will be incorporated into a single prototype facility to be built in the next few years.   The Accelerator Driven Test Facility (ADTF) may be constructed on the same surface land withdrawn for DOE's WIPP Project.  Selection of the final location of ADTF will be based on a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement recently initiated by DOE headquarters in 2002.

Click to see proposed siting of ADTF near the WIPP site

  • Evaluate the most effective way to use a particle accelerator to produce tritium for future nuclear weapons as a back-up to using a commercial nuclear power plant for the same purpose.
  • Begin the process of re-developing the US capability of manufacturing certain pharmaceutical radioisotopes for use in diagnostic and therapeutic medical applications

Learn how Accelerator Transmutation of Waste (ATW) may help solve the issue of safe and permanent disposal of spent nuclear fuel.  In 1998, Congress requested that DOE prepare a report to describe how it would develop the technology to transmute spent nuclear fuel using an accelerator.  DOE's report to Congress can be read here (3.4MB pdf)....

Roadmap for Developing ATW Technology

Learn about DOE's proposed ten-year phased program to design, construct and test an accelerator-based prototype facility to advance the three primary missions outlined for AAA above.  In 2000, Congress requested that DOE update the 1999 ATW report, and  include other accelerator applications.  DOE's 2001 report to Congress can be read here (128KB pdf).....

Advanced Accelerator Applications Program Plan

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