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Title: Promising Fuel Cycle Options for R&D – Results, Insights, and Future Directions

The Fuel Cycle Options (FCO) campaign in the U.S. DOE Fuel Cycle Research & Development Program conducted a detailed evaluation and screening of nuclear fuel cycles. The process for this study was described at the 2014 ICAPP meeting. This paper reports on detailed insights and questions from the results of the study. The comprehensive study identified continuous recycle in fast reactors as the most promising option, using either U/Pu or U/TRU recycle, and potentially in combination with thermal reactors, as reported at the ICAPP 2014 meeting. This paper describes the examination of the results in detail that indicated that there was essentially no difference in benefit between U/Pu and U/TRU recycle, prompting questions about the desirability of pursuing the more complex U/TRU approach given that the estimated greater challenges for development and deployment. The results will be reported from the current effort that further explores what, if any, benefits of TRU recycle (minor actinides in addition to plutonium recycle) may be in order to inform decisions on future R&D directions. The study also identified continuous recycle using thorium-based fuel cycles as potentially promising, in either fast or thermal systems, but with lesser benefit. Detailed examination of these results indicated thatmore » the lesser benefit was confined to only a few of the evaluation metrics, identifying the conditions under which thorium-based fuel cycles would be promising to pursue. For the most promising fuel cycles, the FCO is also conducting analyses on the potential transition to such fuel cycles to identify the issues, challenges, and the timing for critical decisions that would need to be made to avoid unnecessary delay in deployment, including investigation of issues such as the effects of a temporary lack of plutonium fuel resources or supporting infrastructure. These studies are placed in the context of an overall analysis approach designed to provide comprehensive information to the decision-making process.« less
  1. Idaho National Laboratory
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Resource Relation:
Conference: International Congress on Advances in Nuclear Power Plants , Nice, France, 5/3/2015 - 5/6/2015
Research Org:
Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
Country of Publication:
United States
continuous recycle; minor actinide recycle; nuclear fuel cycle