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The closed thorium-transuranic fuel cycle in reduced-moderation PWRs and BWRs

Lindley, BA and Franceschini, F and Parks, GT (2014) The closed thorium-transuranic fuel cycle in reduced-moderation PWRs and BWRs. Annals of Nuclear Energy, 63. pp. 241-254. ISSN 0306-4549

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Multiple recycle of long-lived actinides has the potential to greatly reduce the required storage time for spent nuclear fuel or high level nuclear waste. This is generally thought to require fast reactors as most transuranic (TRU) isotopes have low fission probabilities in thermal reactors. Reduced-moderation LWRs are a potential alternative to fast reactors with reduced time to deployment as they are based on commercially mature LWR technology. Thorium (Th) fuel is neutronically advantageous for TRU multiple recycle in LWRs due to a large improvement in the void coefficient. If Th fuel is used in reduced-moderation LWRs, it appears neutronically feasible to achieve full actinide recycle while burning an external supply of TRU, with related potential improvements in waste management and fuel utilization. In this paper, the fuel cycle of TRU-bearing Th fuel is analysed for reduced-moderation PWRs and BWRs (RMPWRs and RBWRs). RMPWRs have the advantage of relatively rapid implementation and intrinsically low conversion ratios, which is desirable to maximize the TRU burning rate. However, it is challenging to simultaneously satisfy operational and fuel cycle constraints. An RBWR may potentially take longer to implement than an RMPWR due to more extensive changes from current BWR technology. However, the harder neutron spectrum can lead to favourable fuel cycle performance. A two-stage TRU burning cycle, where the first stage is Th-Pu MOX in a conventional PWR feeding a second stage continuous burn in RMPWR or RBWR, is technically reasonable, although it is more suitable for the RBWR implementation. In this case, the fuel cycle performance is relatively insensitive to the discharge burn-up of the first stage. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Div A > Energy
Depositing User: Cron Job
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2017 19:14
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2017 04:11