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Title: Comparative analysis of thorium and uranium fuel for transuranic recycle in a sodium cooled Fast Reactor

The present paper compares the reactor physics and transmutation performance of sodium-cooled Fast Reactors (FRs) for TRansUranic (TRU) burning with thorium (Th) or uranium (U) as fertile materials. The 1000 MWt Toshiba-Westinghouse Advanced Recycling Reactor (ARR) conceptual core has been used as benchmark for the comparison. Both burner and breakeven configurations sustained or started with a TRU supply, and assuming full actinide homogeneous recycle strategy, have been developed. State-of-the-art core physics tools have been employed to establish fuel inventory and reactor physics performances for equilibrium and transition cycles. Results show that Th fosters large improvements in the reactivity coefficients associated with coolant expansion and voiding, which enhances safety margins and, for a burner design, can be traded for maximizing the TRU burning rate. A trade-off of Th compared to U is the significantly larger fuel inventory required to achieve a breakeven design, which entails additional blankets at the detriment of core compactness as well as fuel manufacturing and separation requirements. The gamma field generated by the progeny of U-232 in the U bred from Th challenges fuel handling and manufacturing, but in case of full recycle, the high contents of Am and Cm in the transmutation fuel impose remote fuelmore » operations regardless of the presence of U-232.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0306-4549
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Annals of Nuclear Energy; Journal Volume: 62
Research Org:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
99 GENERAL AND MISCELLANEOUS fast reactor; fuel cycle; fuel handling; safety; thorium