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Title: Impact of minor actinide recycling on sustainable fuel cycle options

Abstract

The recent Evaluation and Screening study chartered by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Nuclear Energy, has identified four fuel cycle options as being the most promising. Among these four options, the two single-stage fuel cycles rely on a fast reactor and are differing in the fact that in one case only uranium and plutonium are recycled while in the other case minor actinides are also recycled. The two other fuel cycles are two-stage and rely on both fast and thermal reactors. They also differ in the fact that in one case only uranium and plutonium are recycled while in the other case minor actinides are also recycled. The current study assesses the impact of recycling minor actinides on the reactor core design, its performance characteristics, and the characteristics of the recycled material and waste material. The recycling of minor actinides is found not to affect the reactor core performance, as long as the same cycle length, core layout and specific power are being used. One notable difference is that the required transuranics (TRU) content is slightly increased when minor actinides are recycled. The mass flows are mostly unchanged given a same specific power and cycle length. Although themore » material mass flows and reactor performance characteristics are hardly affected by recycling minor actinides, some differences are observed in the waste characteristics between the two fuel cycles considered. The absence of minor actinides in the waste results in a different buildup of decay products, and in somewhat different behaviors depending on the characteristic and time frame considered. Recycling of minor actinides is found to result in a reduction of the waste characteristics ranging from 10% to 90%. These results are consistent with previous studies in this domain and depending on the time frame considered, packaging conditions, repository site, repository strategy, the differences observed in the waste characteristics could be beneficial and help improve the repository performance. On the other hand, recycling minor actinides also results in an increase of the recycled fuel characteristics and therefore of the charged fuel. The radioactivity is slightly increased while the decay heat and radiotoxicities are very significantly increased. Despite these differences, the characteristics of the fuel at time of discharge remain similar whether minor actinides are recycled or not, with the exception of the inhalation radiotoxicity which is significantly larger with minor actinide recycling. After some cooling the characteristics of the discharged fuel become larger when minor actinides are recycled, potentially affecting the reprocessing plant requirements. Recycling minor actinides has a negative impact on the characteristics of the fresh fuel and will make it more challenging to fabricate fuel containing minor actinides.« less

Authors:
; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy
OSTI Identifier:
1425261
DOE Contract Number:  
AC02-06CH11357
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Nuclear Engineering and Design; Journal Volume: 323; Journal Issue: C
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English

Citation Formats

Heidet, F., Kim, T. K., and Taiwo, T. A.. Impact of minor actinide recycling on sustainable fuel cycle options. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1016/j.nucengdes.2016.09.024.
Heidet, F., Kim, T. K., & Taiwo, T. A.. Impact of minor actinide recycling on sustainable fuel cycle options. United States. doi:10.1016/j.nucengdes.2016.09.024.
Heidet, F., Kim, T. K., and Taiwo, T. A.. Wed . "Impact of minor actinide recycling on sustainable fuel cycle options". United States. doi:10.1016/j.nucengdes.2016.09.024.
@article{osti_1425261,
title = {Impact of minor actinide recycling on sustainable fuel cycle options},
author = {Heidet, F. and Kim, T. K. and Taiwo, T. A.},
abstractNote = {The recent Evaluation and Screening study chartered by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Nuclear Energy, has identified four fuel cycle options as being the most promising. Among these four options, the two single-stage fuel cycles rely on a fast reactor and are differing in the fact that in one case only uranium and plutonium are recycled while in the other case minor actinides are also recycled. The two other fuel cycles are two-stage and rely on both fast and thermal reactors. They also differ in the fact that in one case only uranium and plutonium are recycled while in the other case minor actinides are also recycled. The current study assesses the impact of recycling minor actinides on the reactor core design, its performance characteristics, and the characteristics of the recycled material and waste material. The recycling of minor actinides is found not to affect the reactor core performance, as long as the same cycle length, core layout and specific power are being used. One notable difference is that the required transuranics (TRU) content is slightly increased when minor actinides are recycled. The mass flows are mostly unchanged given a same specific power and cycle length. Although the material mass flows and reactor performance characteristics are hardly affected by recycling minor actinides, some differences are observed in the waste characteristics between the two fuel cycles considered. The absence of minor actinides in the waste results in a different buildup of decay products, and in somewhat different behaviors depending on the characteristic and time frame considered. Recycling of minor actinides is found to result in a reduction of the waste characteristics ranging from 10% to 90%. These results are consistent with previous studies in this domain and depending on the time frame considered, packaging conditions, repository site, repository strategy, the differences observed in the waste characteristics could be beneficial and help improve the repository performance. On the other hand, recycling minor actinides also results in an increase of the recycled fuel characteristics and therefore of the charged fuel. The radioactivity is slightly increased while the decay heat and radiotoxicities are very significantly increased. Despite these differences, the characteristics of the fuel at time of discharge remain similar whether minor actinides are recycled or not, with the exception of the inhalation radiotoxicity which is significantly larger with minor actinide recycling. After some cooling the characteristics of the discharged fuel become larger when minor actinides are recycled, potentially affecting the reprocessing plant requirements. Recycling minor actinides has a negative impact on the characteristics of the fresh fuel and will make it more challenging to fabricate fuel containing minor actinides.},
doi = {10.1016/j.nucengdes.2016.09.024},
journal = {Nuclear Engineering and Design},
number = C,
volume = 323,
place = {United States},
year = {Wed Nov 01 00:00:00 EDT 2017},
month = {Wed Nov 01 00:00:00 EDT 2017}
}