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Title: THE VALUE OF HELIUM-COOLED REACTOR TECHNOLOGIES OF NUCLEAR WASTE

Helium-cooled reactor technologies offer significant advantages in accomplishing the waste transmutation process. They are ideally suited for use with thermal, epithermal, or fast neutron energy spectra. They can provide a relatively hard thermal neutron spectrum for transmutation of fissionable materials such as Pu-239 using ceramic-coated transmutation fuel particles, a graphite moderator, and a non-fertile burnable poison. These features (1) allow deep levels of transmutation with minimal or no intermediate reprocessing, (2) enhance passive decay heat removal via heat conduction and radiation, (3) allow operation at relatively high temperatures for a highly efficient generation of electricity, and (4) discharge the transmuted waste in a form that is highly resistant to corrosion for long times. They also offer the possibility for the use of epithermal neutrons that can interact with transmutable materials more effectively because of the large atomic cross sections in this energy domain. A fast spectrum may be useful for deep burnup of certain minor actinides. For this application, helium is essentially transparent to neutrons, does not degrade neutron energies, and offers the hardest possible neutron energy environment. In this paper, we report results from recent work on materials transmutation balances, safety, value to a geological repository, and economic considerations.
Authors:
;
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
776396
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-01-1604
TRN: US0102838
DOE Contract Number:
W-7405-ENG-36
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: Conference title not supplied, Conference location not supplied, Conference dates not supplied; Other Information: PBD: 1 Mar 2001
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Lab., NM (US)
Sponsoring Org:
US Department of Energy (US)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES, AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; 21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; AFTER-HEAT REMOVAL; BURNABLE POISONS; ENERGY SPECTRA; EPITHERMAL NEUTRONS; FAST NEUTRONS; FUEL PARTICLES; HELIUM COOLED REACTORS; RADIOACTIVE WASTE PROCESSING; THERMAL NEUTRONS; TRANSMUTATION