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Title: The Radiological and Thermal Characteristics of Fission Waste from a Deep-Burn Fusion-Fission Hybrid (LIFE) and Implications for Repository Performance

Abstract

We are studying the use of a Laser Inertial-confinement Fusion Engine (LIFE) to drive a hybrid fusion-fission system that can generate electrical power and/or burn nuclear waste. The system uses the neutrons from laser driven ICF to produce tritium and to drive nuclear reactions in a subcritical fission blanket. The fusion neutron source obviates the need for a self-sustaining chain reaction in the fission blanket. Either fissile or fertile could be used as fission fuel, thus eliminating the need for isotopic enrichment. The 'driven' system potentially allows very high levels of burnup to be reached, extracting a large fraction of the available energy in the fission fuel without the need for reprocessing. In this note, we discuss the radionuclide inventory of a depleted uranium (DU) fuel burned to greater than 95% FIMA (Fissions per Initial heavy Metal Atom), the implications for thermal management of the resulting waste, and the implications of this waste for meeting the dose standards for releases from a geological repository for high-level waste. The fission waste discussed here would be that produced by a LIFE hybrid with a 500-MW fusion source. The fusion neutrons are multiplied and moderated by a sequence of concentric shells of materialsmore » before encountering the fission fuel, and fission in this region is largely due to thermal neutrons. The fission blanket consists of 40 metric tons (MT) of DU, assumed to be in the form of TRISO-like UOC fuel particles embedded in 2-cm-diameter graphite pebbles. (It is recognized that TRISO-based fuel may not reach the high burnup of the fertile fuel considered here, and other fuel options are being investigated. We postulate the existence of a fuel that can reach >95% FIMA so that the waste disposal implications of high burnup can be assessed.) The engine and plant design considered here would receive one load of fission fuel and produce {approx}2 GWt of power (fusion + fission) over its 50- to 70-year lifetime. Neutron and photon transport calculations were performed using MCNP5. Burnup calculations were performed using a modified version of Monteburns 2.0. The nuclear data used were from ENDF/B-VII. Additional details of the burn calculations can be found in. For comparison to spent fuel from light water reactors (LWRs), we use the projected initial inventory of PWR and BWR fuels (current average age of 23 years since discharge) used for the Yucca Mountain Project Final Environmental Impact Statement. The decay of this initial inventory to 1 million years was calculated using ORIGEN2. The hybrid system considered here would have generated {approx}44 GWe-yr of energy at 99% FIMA. The energy generated per MT is therefore about 1100 MWe-yr/MT. In contrast, using average burnups of 41.2 GWt-day/MT and 33.6 GWt-day/MT for the PWR and BWR fuel slated for disposal at Yucca Mtn., and assuming a thermal electric conversion efficiency of {approx}33%, the total energy generated by the 68,000 MT 'Yucca Mtn. inventory' is {approx}2500 GWe-yr, or {approx}37 MWe-yr/MT, which is {approx}30 times less energy per MT than the waste from the hybrid. Clearly, relative to the current once-through fuel cycle, the use of a deep-burn hybrid to generate electricity would significantly reduce the need for repository capacity.« less

Authors:
; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
967736
Report Number(s):
LLNL-CONF-416698
TRN: US0904537
DOE Contract Number:  
W-7405-ENG-48
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: Presented at: Fusion-Fission Research workshop, Gaithersburg, MD, United States, Sep 30 - Oct 02, 2009
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND RUEL MATERIALS; 12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES AND NON-RACIOACTIVE WASTER FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; 29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY AND ECONOMY; BURNUP; CHAIN REACTIONS; DEPLETED URANIUM; ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENTS; FISSION; FUEL CYCLE; FUEL PARTICLES; HEAVY METALS; HYBRID SYSTEMS; INERTIAL CONFINEMENT; NEUTRON SOURCES; NEUTRONS; NUCLEAR REACTIONS; PHOTON TRANSPORT; RADIOACTIVE WASTES; RADIOISOTOPES; SPENT FUELS; THERMAL NEUTRONS; WASTE DISPOSAL; WASTES; YUCCA MOUNTAIN

Citation Formats

Shaw, H F, Blink, J, Farmer, J, Latkowski, J, and Kramer, K. The Radiological and Thermal Characteristics of Fission Waste from a Deep-Burn Fusion-Fission Hybrid (LIFE) and Implications for Repository Performance. United States: N. p., 2009. Web.
Shaw, H F, Blink, J, Farmer, J, Latkowski, J, & Kramer, K. The Radiological and Thermal Characteristics of Fission Waste from a Deep-Burn Fusion-Fission Hybrid (LIFE) and Implications for Repository Performance. United States.
Shaw, H F, Blink, J, Farmer, J, Latkowski, J, and Kramer, K. Tue . "The Radiological and Thermal Characteristics of Fission Waste from a Deep-Burn Fusion-Fission Hybrid (LIFE) and Implications for Repository Performance". United States. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/967736.
@article{osti_967736,
title = {The Radiological and Thermal Characteristics of Fission Waste from a Deep-Burn Fusion-Fission Hybrid (LIFE) and Implications for Repository Performance},
author = {Shaw, H F and Blink, J and Farmer, J and Latkowski, J and Kramer, K},
abstractNote = {We are studying the use of a Laser Inertial-confinement Fusion Engine (LIFE) to drive a hybrid fusion-fission system that can generate electrical power and/or burn nuclear waste. The system uses the neutrons from laser driven ICF to produce tritium and to drive nuclear reactions in a subcritical fission blanket. The fusion neutron source obviates the need for a self-sustaining chain reaction in the fission blanket. Either fissile or fertile could be used as fission fuel, thus eliminating the need for isotopic enrichment. The 'driven' system potentially allows very high levels of burnup to be reached, extracting a large fraction of the available energy in the fission fuel without the need for reprocessing. In this note, we discuss the radionuclide inventory of a depleted uranium (DU) fuel burned to greater than 95% FIMA (Fissions per Initial heavy Metal Atom), the implications for thermal management of the resulting waste, and the implications of this waste for meeting the dose standards for releases from a geological repository for high-level waste. The fission waste discussed here would be that produced by a LIFE hybrid with a 500-MW fusion source. The fusion neutrons are multiplied and moderated by a sequence of concentric shells of materials before encountering the fission fuel, and fission in this region is largely due to thermal neutrons. The fission blanket consists of 40 metric tons (MT) of DU, assumed to be in the form of TRISO-like UOC fuel particles embedded in 2-cm-diameter graphite pebbles. (It is recognized that TRISO-based fuel may not reach the high burnup of the fertile fuel considered here, and other fuel options are being investigated. We postulate the existence of a fuel that can reach >95% FIMA so that the waste disposal implications of high burnup can be assessed.) The engine and plant design considered here would receive one load of fission fuel and produce {approx}2 GWt of power (fusion + fission) over its 50- to 70-year lifetime. Neutron and photon transport calculations were performed using MCNP5. Burnup calculations were performed using a modified version of Monteburns 2.0. The nuclear data used were from ENDF/B-VII. Additional details of the burn calculations can be found in. For comparison to spent fuel from light water reactors (LWRs), we use the projected initial inventory of PWR and BWR fuels (current average age of 23 years since discharge) used for the Yucca Mountain Project Final Environmental Impact Statement. The decay of this initial inventory to 1 million years was calculated using ORIGEN2. The hybrid system considered here would have generated {approx}44 GWe-yr of energy at 99% FIMA. The energy generated per MT is therefore about 1100 MWe-yr/MT. In contrast, using average burnups of 41.2 GWt-day/MT and 33.6 GWt-day/MT for the PWR and BWR fuel slated for disposal at Yucca Mtn., and assuming a thermal electric conversion efficiency of {approx}33%, the total energy generated by the 68,000 MT 'Yucca Mtn. inventory' is {approx}2500 GWe-yr, or {approx}37 MWe-yr/MT, which is {approx}30 times less energy per MT than the waste from the hybrid. Clearly, relative to the current once-through fuel cycle, the use of a deep-burn hybrid to generate electricity would significantly reduce the need for repository capacity.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2009},
month = {9}
}

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