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Title: Sustainable Thorium Nuclear Fuel Cycles: A Comparison of Intermediate and Fast Neutron Spectrum Systems

This paper presents analyses of possible reactor representations of a nuclear fuel cycle with continuous recycling of thorium and produced uranium (mostly U-233) with thorium-only feed. The analysis was performed in the context of a U.S. Department of Energy effort to develop a compendium of informative nuclear fuel cycle performance data. The objective of this paper is to determine whether intermediate spectrum systems, having a majority of fission events occurring with incident neutron energies between 1 eV and 105 eV, perform as well as fast spectrum systems in this fuel cycle. The intermediate spectrum options analyzed include tight lattice heavy or light water-cooled reactors, continuously refueled molten salt reactors, and a sodium-cooled reactor with hydride fuel. All options were modeled in reactor physics codes to calculate their lattice physics, spectrum characteristics, and fuel compositions over time. Based on these results, detailed metrics were calculated to compare the fuel cycle performance. These metrics include waste management and resource utilization, and are binned to accommodate uncertainties. The performance of the intermediate systems for this selfsustaining thorium fuel cycle was similar to a representative fast spectrum system. However, the number of fission neutrons emitted per neutron absorbed limits performance in intermediate spectrum systems.
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [3] ;  [3] ;  [3] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [3]
  1. Brookhaven National Lab. (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  3. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0029-5493; AF5832020; NEAF322
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-00OR22725; SC0012704; AC02-98CH10886; AC02-06CH11357
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nuclear Engineering and Design
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 289; Journal ID: ISSN 0029-5493
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE), Fuel Cycle Technologies (NE-5)
Country of Publication:
United States