skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Proliferation-resistant nuclear fuel cycles. [Spiking of plutonium with /sup 238/Pu]

Abstract

The properties of plutonium containing unusually large proportions of the /sup 238/Pu isotope are considered in relation to resistance to nuclear proliferation. Several fuel cycle modifications for light-water reactors are evaluated. It is shown that the /sup 238/Pu isotopic concentration can be increased substantially from the approximately 1.5% in discharged fuel from reactors operating presently. Concentrations of 8 to 10% are readily achievable, and values approaching 20% may be practical. The increased /sup 238/Pu content is accomplished by increasing its production by recycling /sup 236/U (via recycle of uranium from spent fuel) and /sup 237/Np, and by decreasing production of isotopes heavier than mass 238 by substituting thorium for /sup 238/U. Impact on the fuel cycle appears to be no more severe than that from other proliferation-resistant concepts currently under consideration. The properties of such plutonium, particularly heat generation, may offer a viable deterrent to weapons use of the material by organizations without appropriate experience and technology, thereby substantially reducing the risk of nuclear proliferation.

Authors:
;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab., TN (USA)
OSTI Identifier:
6743129
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 6743129
Report Number(s):
ORNL/TM-6392
TRN: 78-015586
DOE Contract Number:  
W-7405-ENG-26
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
98 NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT, SAFEGUARDS, AND PHYSICAL PROTECTION; 11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; DENATURED FUEL; FUEL CYCLE; PLUTONIUM RECYCLE; WATER COOLED REACTORS; DECAY; HEATING; PLUTONIUM 238; PROLIFERATION; ACTINIDE ISOTOPES; ACTINIDE NUCLEI; ALPHA DECAY RADIOISOTOPES; ENERGY SOURCES; EVEN-EVEN NUCLEI; FUELS; HEAVY NUCLEI; ISOTOPES; NUCLEAR FUELS; NUCLEI; PLUTONIUM ISOTOPES; RADIOISOTOPES; REACTOR MATERIALS; REACTORS; YEARS LIVING RADIOISOTOPES 055001* -- Nuclear Fuels-- Safeguards, Inspection, & Accountability-- Technical Aspects; 050800 -- Nuclear Fuels-- Spent Fuels Reprocessing

Citation Formats

Campbell, D.O., and Gift, E.H. Proliferation-resistant nuclear fuel cycles. [Spiking of plutonium with /sup 238/Pu]. United States: N. p., 1978. Web. doi:10.2172/6743129.
Campbell, D.O., & Gift, E.H. Proliferation-resistant nuclear fuel cycles. [Spiking of plutonium with /sup 238/Pu]. United States. doi:10.2172/6743129.
Campbell, D.O., and Gift, E.H. Thu . "Proliferation-resistant nuclear fuel cycles. [Spiking of plutonium with /sup 238/Pu]". United States. doi:10.2172/6743129. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/6743129.
@article{osti_6743129,
title = {Proliferation-resistant nuclear fuel cycles. [Spiking of plutonium with /sup 238/Pu]},
author = {Campbell, D.O. and Gift, E.H.},
abstractNote = {The properties of plutonium containing unusually large proportions of the /sup 238/Pu isotope are considered in relation to resistance to nuclear proliferation. Several fuel cycle modifications for light-water reactors are evaluated. It is shown that the /sup 238/Pu isotopic concentration can be increased substantially from the approximately 1.5% in discharged fuel from reactors operating presently. Concentrations of 8 to 10% are readily achievable, and values approaching 20% may be practical. The increased /sup 238/Pu content is accomplished by increasing its production by recycling /sup 236/U (via recycle of uranium from spent fuel) and /sup 237/Np, and by decreasing production of isotopes heavier than mass 238 by substituting thorium for /sup 238/U. Impact on the fuel cycle appears to be no more severe than that from other proliferation-resistant concepts currently under consideration. The properties of such plutonium, particularly heat generation, may offer a viable deterrent to weapons use of the material by organizations without appropriate experience and technology, thereby substantially reducing the risk of nuclear proliferation.},
doi = {10.2172/6743129},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {1978},
month = {6}
}