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Title: Enhancing BWR Proliferation Resistance Fuel with Minor Actinides

Abstract

To reduce spent fuel for storage and enhance the proliferation resistance for the intermediate-term, there are two major approaches (a) increase the discharged spent fuel burnup in the advanced light water reactor- LWR (Gen-III Plus), which not only can reduce the spent fuel for storage, but also increase the 238Pu isotopes ratio to enhance the proliferation resistance, and (b) use of transuranic nuclides (237Np and 241Am) in the high burnup fuel, which can drastically increase the proliferation resistance isotope ratio of 238Pu/Pu. For future advanced nuclear systems, minor actinides (MA) are viewed more as a resource to be recycled, and transmuted to less hazardous and possibly more useful forms, rather than simply disposed of as a waste stream in an expensive repository facility. As a result, MAs play a much larger part in the design of advanced systems and fuel cycles, not only as additional sources of useful energy, but also as direct contributors to the reactivity control of the systems into which they are incorporated. In the study, a typical boiling water reactor (BWR) fuel unit lattice cell model with UO2 fuel pins will be used to investigate the effectiveness of minor actinide reduction approach (MARA) for enhancing proliferationmore » resistance and improving the fuel cycle performance in the intermediate-term goal for future nuclear energy systems. To account for the water coolant density variation from the bottom (0.76 g/cm3) to the top (0.35 g/cm3) of the core, the axial coolant channel and fuel pin were divided to 24 nodes. The MA transmutation characteristics at different elevations were compared and their impact on neutronics criticality discussed. The concept of MARA, which involves the use of transuranic nuclides (237Np and/or 241Am), significantly increases the 238Pu/Pu ratio for proliferation resistance, as well as serves as a burnable absorber to hold-down the initial excess reactivity. It is believed that MARA can play an important role in atoms for peace and the intermediate-term of nuclear energy reconnaissance.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
Sponsoring Org.:
DOE - NE
OSTI Identifier:
948876
Report Number(s):
INL/JOU-09-15533
Journal ID: ISSN 0022-3115; JNUMAM; TRN: US0901765
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC07-99ID-13727
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Nuclear Materials; Journal Volume: 385; Journal Issue: 1
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; ACTINIDES; ATOMS; BOILING; BURNUP; COOLANTS; CRITICALITY; FUEL CYCLE; FUEL PINS; ISOTOPE RATIO; ISOTOPES; NUCLEAR ENERGY; PROLIFERATION; SPENT FUELS; STORAGE; TRANSMUTATION; WASTES; WATER; minor actinides; resistance fuel

Citation Formats

Gray S. Chang. Enhancing BWR Proliferation Resistance Fuel with Minor Actinides. United States: N. p., 2009. Web. doi:10.1016/j.jnucmat.2008.08.062.
Gray S. Chang. Enhancing BWR Proliferation Resistance Fuel with Minor Actinides. United States. doi:10.1016/j.jnucmat.2008.08.062.
Gray S. Chang. 2009. "Enhancing BWR Proliferation Resistance Fuel with Minor Actinides". United States. doi:10.1016/j.jnucmat.2008.08.062.
@article{osti_948876,
title = {Enhancing BWR Proliferation Resistance Fuel with Minor Actinides},
author = {Gray S. Chang},
abstractNote = {To reduce spent fuel for storage and enhance the proliferation resistance for the intermediate-term, there are two major approaches (a) increase the discharged spent fuel burnup in the advanced light water reactor- LWR (Gen-III Plus), which not only can reduce the spent fuel for storage, but also increase the 238Pu isotopes ratio to enhance the proliferation resistance, and (b) use of transuranic nuclides (237Np and 241Am) in the high burnup fuel, which can drastically increase the proliferation resistance isotope ratio of 238Pu/Pu. For future advanced nuclear systems, minor actinides (MA) are viewed more as a resource to be recycled, and transmuted to less hazardous and possibly more useful forms, rather than simply disposed of as a waste stream in an expensive repository facility. As a result, MAs play a much larger part in the design of advanced systems and fuel cycles, not only as additional sources of useful energy, but also as direct contributors to the reactivity control of the systems into which they are incorporated. In the study, a typical boiling water reactor (BWR) fuel unit lattice cell model with UO2 fuel pins will be used to investigate the effectiveness of minor actinide reduction approach (MARA) for enhancing proliferation resistance and improving the fuel cycle performance in the intermediate-term goal for future nuclear energy systems. To account for the water coolant density variation from the bottom (0.76 g/cm3) to the top (0.35 g/cm3) of the core, the axial coolant channel and fuel pin were divided to 24 nodes. The MA transmutation characteristics at different elevations were compared and their impact on neutronics criticality discussed. The concept of MARA, which involves the use of transuranic nuclides (237Np and/or 241Am), significantly increases the 238Pu/Pu ratio for proliferation resistance, as well as serves as a burnable absorber to hold-down the initial excess reactivity. It is believed that MARA can play an important role in atoms for peace and the intermediate-term of nuclear energy reconnaissance.},
doi = {10.1016/j.jnucmat.2008.08.062},
journal = {Journal of Nuclear Materials},
number = 1,
volume = 385,
place = {United States},
year = 2009,
month = 3
}
  • Key aspects of the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) are to significantly advance the science and technology of nuclear energy systems and the Advanced Fuel Cycle (AFC) program. The merits of nuclear energy are the high-density energy, and low environmental impacts i.e. almost zero greenhouse gas emission. Planned efforts involve near-term and intermediate-term improvements in fuel utilization and recycling in current LWR as well as the longer-term development of new nuclear energy systems that offer much improved fuel utilization and proliferation resistance, along with continued advances in operational safety. The challenges are solving the energy needs of the world, protectionmore » against nuclear proliferation, the problem of nuclear waste, and the global environmental problem. To reduce the spent fuel for storage and enhance the proliferation resistance for the intermediate-term, there are two major approaches (a) increase the discharged spent fuel burnup in the advanced LWR (Gen-III Plus), which not only can reduce the spent fuel for storage, but also increase the 238Pu and 240Pu isotopes ratio to enhance the proliferation resistance, (b) use of transuranic nuclides (237Np and 241Am) in the high burnup fuel, which can drastically increase the proliferation resistance isotope 238Pu /Pu ratio. For future advanced nuclear systems, the minor actinides are viewed more as a resource to be recycled, or transmuted to less hazardous and possibly more useful forms, rather than simply as a waste stream to be disposed of in expensive repository facilities. In this paper, a typical pressurized water reactor (PWR) VVER-1000 annular fuel unit lattice cell model with UO2 fuel pins will be used to investigate the effectiveness of minor actinide reduction approach (MARA) for enhancing proliferation resistance and improving the fuel cycle performance. We concluded that the concept of MARA, involves the use of transuranic nuclides (237Np and/or 241Am), can not only drastically increase the 238Pu/Pu ratio for proliferation resistance, but also can serve as a burnable absorber to hold-down the initial excess reactivity. It is believed that MARA can play an important role in atoms for peace and the intermediate term of nuclear energy reconnaissance.« less
  • Key aspects of the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) are to significantly advance the science and technology of nuclear energy systems and the Advanced Fuel Cycle (AFC) program. It consists of both innovative nuclear reactors and innovative research in separation and transmutation. To accomplish these goals, international cooperation is very important and public acceptance is crucial. The merits of nuclear energy are high-density energy, with low environmental impacts (i.e. almost zero greenhouse gas emission). Planned efforts involve near-term and intermediate-term improvements in fuel utilization and recycling in current light water reactors (LWRs) as well as the longer-term development of newmore » nuclear energy systems that offer much improved fuel utilization and proliferation resistance, along with continued advances in operational safety. The challenges are solving the energy needs of the world, protection against nuclear proliferation, the problem of nuclear waste, and the global environmental problem. To reduce spent fuel for storage and enhance the proliferation resistance for the intermediate-term, there are two major approaches (a) increase the discharged spent fuel burnup in the advanced LWR (Gen-III Plus), which not only can reduce the spent fuel for storage, but also increase the 238Pu and 240Pu isotopes ratio to enhance the proliferation resistance, and (b) use of transuranic nuclides (237Np and 241Am) in the high burnup fuel, which can drastically increase the proliferation resistance isotope ratio of 238Pu /Pu. For future advanced nuclear systems, the minor actinides (MA) are viewed more as a resource to be recycled, or transmuted to less hazardous and possibly more useful forms, rather than simply as a waste stream to be disposed of in expensive repository facilities. As a result, MAs play a much larger part in the design of advanced systems and fuel cycles, not only as additional sources of useful energy, but also as direct contributors to the reactivity control of the systems into which they are incorporated. In the study, a typical boiling water reactor (BWR) fuel unit lattice cell model with UO2 fuel pins will be used to investigate the effectiveness of minor actinide reduction approach (MARA) for enhancing proliferation resistance and improving the fuel cycle performance in the intermediate term goal for future nuclear energy systems. To account for the water coolant density variation from the bottom (0.76 g/cm3) to the top (0.35 g/cm3) of the core, the axial coolant channel and fuel pin were divided to 24 nodes. The MA transmutation characteristics at different elevations were compared and their impact on neutronics criticality discussed. We concluded that the concept of MARA, which involves the use of transuranic nuclides (237Np and/or 241Am), significantly increases the 238Pu/Pu ratio for proliferation resistance, as well as serves as a burnable absorber to hold-down the initial excess reactivity. It is believed that MARA can play an important role in atoms for peace and the intermediate term of nuclear energy rennaissance.« less
  • The advanced nuclear system will significantly advance the science and technology of nuclear energy systems and to enhance the spent fuel proliferation resistance. Minor actinides (MA) are viewed more as a resource to be recycled, and transmuted to less hazardous and possibly more useful forms, rather than simply disposed of as a waste stream in an expensive repository facility. MAs can play a much larger part in the design of advanced systems and fuel cycles, not only as additional sources of useful energy, but also as direct contributors to the reactivity control of the systems into which they are incorporated.more » In this work, an Advanced CANDU Reactor (ACR) fuel unit lattice cell model with 43 UO2 fuel rods will be used to investigate the effectiveness of a Minor Actinide Reduction Approach (MARA) for enhancing proliferation resistance and improving the fuel cycle performance. The main MARA objective is to increase the 238Pu / Pu isotope ratio by using the transuranic nuclides (237Np and 241Am) in the high burnup fuel and thereby increase the proliferation resistance even for a very low fuel burnup. As a result, MARA is a very effective approach to enhance the proliferation resistance for the on power refueling ACR system nuclear fuel. The MA transmutation characteristics at different MA loadings were compared and their impact on neutronics criticality assessed. The concept of MARA, significantly increases the 238Pu/Pu ratio for proliferation resistance, as well as serves as a burnable absorber to hold-down the initial excess reactivity. It is believed that MARA can play an important role in atoms for peace and the intermediate term of nuclear energy reconnaissance.« less
  • The Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) program is to significantly advance the science and technology of nuclear energy systems and to enhance the spent fuel proliferation resistance. It consists of both innovative nuclear reactors and innovative research in separation and transmutation. The merits of nuclear energy are high-density energy, with low environmental impacts (i.e. almost zero greenhouse gas emission). Planned efforts involve near-term and intermediate-term improvements in fuel utilization and recycling in current light water reactors (LWRs) as well as the longer-term development of new nuclear energy systems that offer much improved fuel utilization and proliferation resistance, along with continuedmore » advances in operational safety. For future advanced nuclear systems, minor actinides (MA) are viewed more as a resource to be recycled, and transmuted to less hazardous and possibly more useful forms, rather than simply disposed of as a waste stream in an expensive repository facility. MAs can play a much larger part in the design of advanced systems and fuel cycles, not only as additional sources of useful energy, but also as direct contributors to the reactivity control of the systems into which they are incorporated. In this work, an Advanced CANDU Reactor (ACR) fuel unit lattice cell model with 43 UO2 fuel rods will be used to investigate the effectiveness of a Minor Actinide Reduction Approach (MARA) for enhancing proliferation resistance and improving the fuel cycle performance. The main MARA objective is to increase the 238Pu / Pu isotope ratio by using the transuranic nuclides (237Np and 241Am) in the high burnup fuel and thereby increase the proliferation resistance even for a very low fuel burnup. As a result, MARA is a very effective approach to enhance the proliferation resistance for the on power refueling ACR system nuclear fuel. The MA transmutation characteristics at different MA loadings were compared and their impact on neutronics criticality assessed. The concept of MARA, significantly increases the 238Pu/Pu ratio for proliferation resistance, as well as serves as a burnable absorber to hold-down the initial excess reactivity. It is believed that MARA can play an important role in atoms for peace and the intermediate term of nuclear energy reconnaissance« less
  • A liquid-metal reactor was designed for the primary purpose of burning the minor actinide waste from commercial light water reactors (LWRs). The design was constrained to maintain acceptable safety performance as measured by the burnup reactivity swing, the Doppler constant, and the sodium void worth. Sensitivity studies were performed for homogeneous and decoupled core designs, and a minor actinide burner design was determined to maximize actinide consumption and satisfy safety constraints. One of the principal innovations was the use of two core regions, with a fissile plutonium outer core and an inner core consisting only of minor actinides. The physicsmore » studies performed here indicate that a 1200-MW(thermal) core is able to consume the annual minor actinide inventory of about 16 LWRs and still exhibit reasonable safety characteristics.« less