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Title: Proliferation Resistant Nuclear Reactor Fuel

Abstract

Global appetite for fission power is projected to grow dramatically this century, and for good reason. Despite considerable research to identify new sources of energy, fission remains the most plentiful and practical alternative to fossil fuels. The environmental challenges of fossil fuel have made the fission power option increasingly attractive, particularly as we are forced to rely on reserves in ecologically fragile or politically unstable corners of the globe. Caught between a globally eroding fossil fuel reserve as well as the uncertainty and considerable costs in the development of fusion power, most of the world will most likely come to rely on fission power for at least the remainder of the 21st century. Despite inevitable growth, fission power faces enduring challenges in sustainability and security. One of fission power's greatest hurdles to universal acceptance is the risk of potential misuse for nefarious purposes of fissionable byproducts in spent fuel, such as plutonium. With this issue in mind, we have discussed intrinsic concepts in this report that are motivated by the premise that the utility, desirability, and applicability of nuclear materials can be reduced. In a general sense, the intrinsic solutions aim to reduce or eliminate the quantity of existing weaponsmore » usable material; avoid production of new weapons-usable material through enrichment, breeding, extraction; or employ engineering solutions to make the fuel cycle less useful or more difficult for producing weapons-usable material. By their nature, these schemes require modifications to existing fuel cycles. As such, the concomitants of these modifications require engagement from the nuclear reactor and fuel-design community to fully assess their effects. Unfortunately, active pursuit of any scheme that could further complicate the spread of domestic nuclear power will probably be understandably unpopular. Nevertheless, the nonproliferation and counterterrorism issues are paramount, and we posit that the exploration, development, and implementation of intrinsic mechanisms such as discussed here are part of a balanced approach aimed at preventing the misuse of nuclear material for nuclear-energy applications.« less

Authors:
; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1021549
Report Number(s):
LLNL-TR-485491
TRN: US1104192
DOE Contract Number:  
W-7405-ENG-48
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND RUEL MATERIALS; 61 RADIATION PROTECTION AND DOCIMETRY; 12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES AND NON-RACIOACTIVE WASTER FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; 73 NUCLEAR PHYSICS AND RADIATION PHYSICS; 29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY AND ECONOMY; 38 RADIATION CHEMISTRY, RADIOCHEMISTRY, AND NUCLEAR CHEMISTRY; FISSION; FUEL CYCLE; FUELS; HAZARDS; NUCLEAR ENERGY; NUCLEAR POWER; PLUTONIUM; PRODUCTION; PROLIFERATION; SECURITY; SPENT FUELS; USES; WEAPONS

Citation Formats

Gray, L W, Moody, K J, Bradley, K S, and Lorenzana, H E. Proliferation Resistant Nuclear Reactor Fuel. United States: N. p., 2011. Web. doi:10.2172/1021549.
Gray, L W, Moody, K J, Bradley, K S, & Lorenzana, H E. Proliferation Resistant Nuclear Reactor Fuel. United States. doi:10.2172/1021549.
Gray, L W, Moody, K J, Bradley, K S, and Lorenzana, H E. Fri . "Proliferation Resistant Nuclear Reactor Fuel". United States. doi:10.2172/1021549. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1021549.
@article{osti_1021549,
title = {Proliferation Resistant Nuclear Reactor Fuel},
author = {Gray, L W and Moody, K J and Bradley, K S and Lorenzana, H E},
abstractNote = {Global appetite for fission power is projected to grow dramatically this century, and for good reason. Despite considerable research to identify new sources of energy, fission remains the most plentiful and practical alternative to fossil fuels. The environmental challenges of fossil fuel have made the fission power option increasingly attractive, particularly as we are forced to rely on reserves in ecologically fragile or politically unstable corners of the globe. Caught between a globally eroding fossil fuel reserve as well as the uncertainty and considerable costs in the development of fusion power, most of the world will most likely come to rely on fission power for at least the remainder of the 21st century. Despite inevitable growth, fission power faces enduring challenges in sustainability and security. One of fission power's greatest hurdles to universal acceptance is the risk of potential misuse for nefarious purposes of fissionable byproducts in spent fuel, such as plutonium. With this issue in mind, we have discussed intrinsic concepts in this report that are motivated by the premise that the utility, desirability, and applicability of nuclear materials can be reduced. In a general sense, the intrinsic solutions aim to reduce or eliminate the quantity of existing weapons usable material; avoid production of new weapons-usable material through enrichment, breeding, extraction; or employ engineering solutions to make the fuel cycle less useful or more difficult for producing weapons-usable material. By their nature, these schemes require modifications to existing fuel cycles. As such, the concomitants of these modifications require engagement from the nuclear reactor and fuel-design community to fully assess their effects. Unfortunately, active pursuit of any scheme that could further complicate the spread of domestic nuclear power will probably be understandably unpopular. Nevertheless, the nonproliferation and counterterrorism issues are paramount, and we posit that the exploration, development, and implementation of intrinsic mechanisms such as discussed here are part of a balanced approach aimed at preventing the misuse of nuclear material for nuclear-energy applications.},
doi = {10.2172/1021549},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2011},
month = {2}
}

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