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Radiological implications of plutonium recycle and the use of thorium fuels in power reactor operations

Abstract

As economically attractive sources of natural uranium are gradually depleted attention will turn to recycling plutonium or to the use of thorium fuels. The radiological implications of these fuel cycles in terms of fuel handling and radioactive waste disposal are investigated in relation to a conventional /sup 235/U enriched oxide fuel. It is suggested that a comparative study of this nature may be an important aspect of the overall optimization of future fuel cycle strategies. It is shown that the use of thorium based fuels has distinct advantages in terms of neutron dose rates from irradiated fuels and long term proportional to decay heating commitment compared with conventional uranium/plutonium fuels. However, this introduces a ..gamma.. dose rate problem in the fabrication and handling of unirradiated /sup 233/U fuels. For both plutonium and thorium fuels these radiological problems increase during storage of the fuel prior to reactor irradiation. The novel health physics problems which arise in the handling and processing of thorium fuels are reviewed in an appendix.
Authors:
Publication Date:
Jan 15, 1976
Product Type:
Technical Report
Report Number:
RD/B/N-3523
Reference Number:
AIX-07-252357; ERA-02-016967; EDB-77-025143
Subject:
22 GENERAL STUDIES OF NUCLEAR REACTORS; 11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; FUEL CYCLE; ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS; NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS; PLUTONIUM RECYCLE; THORIUM; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; DOSE RATES; ENRICHED URANIUM; GAMMA RADIATION; NUCLEAR FUELS; PLUTONIUM DIOXIDE; RADIATION HAZARDS; RADIOACTIVE WASTE DISPOSAL; THORIUM OXIDES; URANIUM DIOXIDE; ACTINIDE COMPOUNDS; ACTINIDES; CHALCOGENIDES; ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION; ELEMENTS; ENERGY SOURCES; FUELS; HAZARDS; HEALTH HAZARDS; IONIZING RADIATIONS; ISOTOPE ENRICHED MATERIALS; MANAGEMENT; METALS; NUCLEAR FACILITIES; OXIDES; OXYGEN COMPOUNDS; PLUTONIUM COMPOUNDS; PLUTONIUM OXIDES; POWER PLANTS; RADIATIONS; REACTOR MATERIALS; THERMAL POWER PLANTS; THORIUM COMPOUNDS; TRANSURANIUM COMPOUNDS; URANIUM; URANIUM COMPOUNDS; URANIUM OXIDES; WASTE DISPOSAL; WASTE MANAGEMENT; 220300* - Nuclear Reactor Technology- Fuel Elements; 053000 - Nuclear Fuels- Environmental Aspects
OSTI ID:
7328817
Research Organizations:
Central Electricity Generating Board, Berkeley (United Kingdom). Berkeley Nuclear Labs.
Country of Origin:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Submitting Site:
INIS
Size:
24 p.
Announcement Date:

Citation Formats

Macdonald, H. F. Radiological implications of plutonium recycle and the use of thorium fuels in power reactor operations. United Kingdom: N. p., 1976. Web.
Macdonald, H. F. Radiological implications of plutonium recycle and the use of thorium fuels in power reactor operations. United Kingdom.
Macdonald, H. F. 1976. "Radiological implications of plutonium recycle and the use of thorium fuels in power reactor operations." United Kingdom.
@misc{etde_7328817,
title = {Radiological implications of plutonium recycle and the use of thorium fuels in power reactor operations}
author = {Macdonald, H. F.}
abstractNote = {As economically attractive sources of natural uranium are gradually depleted attention will turn to recycling plutonium or to the use of thorium fuels. The radiological implications of these fuel cycles in terms of fuel handling and radioactive waste disposal are investigated in relation to a conventional /sup 235/U enriched oxide fuel. It is suggested that a comparative study of this nature may be an important aspect of the overall optimization of future fuel cycle strategies. It is shown that the use of thorium based fuels has distinct advantages in terms of neutron dose rates from irradiated fuels and long term proportional to decay heating commitment compared with conventional uranium/plutonium fuels. However, this introduces a ..gamma.. dose rate problem in the fabrication and handling of unirradiated /sup 233/U fuels. For both plutonium and thorium fuels these radiological problems increase during storage of the fuel prior to reactor irradiation. The novel health physics problems which arise in the handling and processing of thorium fuels are reviewed in an appendix.}
place = {United Kingdom}
year = {1976}
month = {Jan}
}