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Title: Practical Combinations of Light-Water Reactors and Fast-Reactors for Future Actinide Transmutation

Abstract

Multicycle partitioning-transmutation (P-T) studies continue to show that use of existing light-water reactors (LWRs) and new advanced light-water reactors (ALWRs) can effectively transmute transuranic (TRU) actinides, enabling initiation of full actinide recycle much earlier than waiting for the development and deployment of sufficient fast reactor (FR) capacity. The combination of initial P-T cycles using LWRs/ALWRs in parallel with economic improvements to FR usage for electricity production, and a follow-on transition period in which FRs are deployed, is a practical approach to near-term closure of the nuclear fuel cycle with full actinide recycle.

Authors:
 [1];  [1]
  1. ORNL
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
OSTI Identifier:
975055
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC05-00OR22725
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: ANS Global 2007, Boise, ID, USA, 20070909, 20070909
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; 21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; ACTINIDES; CAPACITY; CLOSURES; ECONOMICS; ELECTRICITY; FAST REACTORS; NUCLEAR FUELS; PRODUCTION; TRANSMUTATION

Citation Formats

Collins, Emory D, and Renier, John-Paul. Practical Combinations of Light-Water Reactors and Fast-Reactors for Future Actinide Transmutation. United States: N. p., 2007. Web.
Collins, Emory D, & Renier, John-Paul. Practical Combinations of Light-Water Reactors and Fast-Reactors for Future Actinide Transmutation. United States.
Collins, Emory D, and Renier, John-Paul. Mon . "Practical Combinations of Light-Water Reactors and Fast-Reactors for Future Actinide Transmutation". United States. doi:.
@article{osti_975055,
title = {Practical Combinations of Light-Water Reactors and Fast-Reactors for Future Actinide Transmutation},
author = {Collins, Emory D and Renier, John-Paul},
abstractNote = {Multicycle partitioning-transmutation (P-T) studies continue to show that use of existing light-water reactors (LWRs) and new advanced light-water reactors (ALWRs) can effectively transmute transuranic (TRU) actinides, enabling initiation of full actinide recycle much earlier than waiting for the development and deployment of sufficient fast reactor (FR) capacity. The combination of initial P-T cycles using LWRs/ALWRs in parallel with economic improvements to FR usage for electricity production, and a follow-on transition period in which FRs are deployed, is a practical approach to near-term closure of the nuclear fuel cycle with full actinide recycle.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2007},
month = {Mon Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2007}
}

Conference:
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  • Multicycle partitioning-transmutation (P-T) studies continue to show that use of existing light-water reactors (LWRs) and new advanced light-water reactors (ALWRs) can effectively transmute transuranic (TRU) actinides, enabling initiation of full actinide recycle much earlier than waiting for the development and deployment of sufficient fast reactor (FR) capacity. The combination of initial P-T cycles using LWRs/ALWRs in parallel with economic improvements to FR usage for electricity production, and a follow-on transition period in which FRs are deployed, is a practical approach to near-term closure of the nuclear fuel cycle with full actinide recycle. (authors)
  • The effects of varying the reprocessing strategy used in the closed cycle of a Sodium Fast Reactor (SNF) prototype are presented in this paper. The isotopic vector from the aqueous separation of transuranic (TRU) elements in Light Water Reactor (LWR) spent nuclear fuel (SNF) is assumed to also vary according to the reprocessing strategy of the closed fuel cycle. The decay heat, gamma energy, and neutron emission of the fuel discharge at equilibrium are found to vary depending on the separation strategy. The SFR core used in this study corresponds to a burner configuration with a conversion ratio of ~0.5more » based on the Super-PRISM design. The reprocessing strategies stemming from the choice of either metal or oxide fuel for the SFR are found to have a large impact on the equilibrium discharge decay heat, gamma energy, and neutron emission. Specifically, metal fuel SFR with pyroprocessing of the discharge produces the largest amount of TRU consumption (166 kg per Effective Full Power Year or EFPY), but also the highest decay heat, gamma energy, and neutron emission. On the other hand, an oxide fuel SFR with PUREX reprocessing minimizes the decay heat and related parameters of interest to a minimum, even when compared to thermal Mixed Oxide (MOX) or Inert Matrix Fuel (IMF) on a per mass basis. On an assembly basis, however, the metal SFR discharge has a lower decay heat than an equivalent oxide SFR assembly for similar minor actinide consumptions (~160 kg/EFPY.) Another disadvantage in the oxide PUREX reprocessing scenario is that there is no consumption of americium and curium, since PUREX reprocessing separates these minor actinides (MA) and requires them to be disposed of externally.« less
  • Burning trans-uranic elements in Combined Non-Fertile and UO{sub 2} (CONFU) PWR assemblies is evaluated. These assemblies are composed of a mix of standard UO{sub 2} fuel pins and pins made of recycled trans-uranics (TRU) in an inert matrix and are designed to fit in currently deployed PWRs. Previous studies have shown the feasibility of a CONFU-Equilibrium (CONFUE) assembly design with a net zero TRU balance. Applying appropriate limits on the safety coefficients and the peaking factor in the assembly, a CONFU-Burn-down (CONFU-B) assembly design is shown to attain a net TRU destruction in each fuel batch through at least 9more » recycles. This represents a time span of nearly 100 years of in-core residence and out-of-core storage time. Three recycling strategies are considered all using a 4.5-year in core irradiation, followed by cooling and reprocessing. The three strategies are a short-term cooling (6-year) after discharge, a longer-term cooling (16.5-year) after discharge, and a strategy called Remix. The Remix strategy involves partitioning the Pu/Np after 6-year cooling for immediate recycle, and partitioning the Am/Cm for an additional 10.5-year cooling before remixing it into the next CONFU-B batch. Calculations show the CONFU-B can have a net TRU destruction of approximately 1.5 kg to 10.0 kg of TRU per TWhe depending on the recycle strategy used. This represents a net burning rate of 2-8% of the TRU loaded per assembly. Thus, LWRs are able to eventually operate in a fuel cycle system with an inventory of higher actinides much lower than that accumulated to date. (authors)« less
  • The irradiation of Th{sup 232} breeds fewer of the problematic minor actinides (Np, Am, Cm) than the irradiation of U{sup 238}. This characteristic makes thorium an attractive potential matrix for the transmutation of these minor actinides, as these species can be transmuted without the creation of new actinides as is the case with a uranium fuel matrix. Minor actinides are the main contributors to long term decay heat and radiotoxicity of spent fuel, so reducing their concentration can greatly increase the capacity of a long term deep geological repository. Mixing minor actinides with thorium, three times more common in themore » Earth's crust than natural uranium, has the additional advantage of improving the sustainability of the fuel cycle. In this work, lattice cell calculations have been performed to determine the results of transmuting minor actinides from light water reactor spent fuel in a thorium matrix. 15-year-cooled group-extracted transuranic elements (Np, Pu, Am, Cm) from light water reactor (LWR) spent fuel were used as the fissile component in a thorium-based fuel in a heavy water moderated reactor (HWR). The minor actinide (MA) transmutation rates, spent fuel activity, decay heat and radiotoxicity, are compared with those obtained when the MA were mixed instead with natural uranium and taken to the same burnup. Each bundle contained a central pin containing a burnable neutron absorber whose initial concentration was adjusted to have the same reactivity response (in units of the delayed neutron fraction ╬▓) for coolant voiding as standard NU fuel. (authors)« less