Nuclear Science

Nuclear Energy Agency

1990-0643 (online)
1990-0651 (print)
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A series of publications from the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency on various aspects of nuclear science. The publications in this series (analytical reports and proceedings) provide research results and technical expertise in basic disciplines such as nuclear and radiation physics, thermal hydraulics, neutronics, fuel chemistry and material science which are needed to maintain a high level of performance and safety and to develop nuclear programmes.

Homogeneous versus Heterogeneous Recycling of Transuranics in Fast Nuclear Reactors

Homogeneous versus Heterogeneous Recycling of Transuranics in Fast Nuclear Reactors You do not have access to this content

Nuclear Energy Agency

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31 Dec 2012
9789264991774 (PDF)

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Fuel transuranics (TRU) multi-recycling is a mandatory feature if both the resource sustainability and the waste minimisation objectives for future fuel cycles are to be pursued. The resulting TRU transmutation can be implemented in fast neutron spectrum reactors according to two main options commonly referred to as the homogeneous and heterogeneous modes. In this study, the two alternatives have been compared in terms of reactor core feasibility, fuel development and impact on the fuel cycle. The multi-criteria analysis indicates that there are major challenges in minor actinide-loaded fuel development, its experimental validation and possibly in its reprocessing. Both modes of recycling have an impact on the overall fuel cycle, even if at different stages, for example complex target fabrication and handling in the case of heterogeneous recycling and full core fuel fabrication in the case of homogeneous recycling. The study finds that an economic evaluation according to specific implementation scenarios should still be undertaken.


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Table of Contents

Executive summary 9
1. Comparative study on homogeneous versus heterogeneous recycling of TRU in fast reactors 13
-1.1 Background 13
-1.2 Ongoing studies and motivation for an international comparative study 14
2. Aims for minor actinides transmutation 15
-2.1 Mass and radiotoxicity 15
-2.2 Heat load 16
-2.3 Neutron source 16
-2.4 Transmutation and the operation of the reactor 17
-2.5 Consequences on fuel cycle parameters 19
-2.6 Global impacts and performances 19
3. Reactor issues 21
-3.1 Background 21
-3.1.1 Background on plutonium and minor actinide production  21
-3.1.2 Rationale for homogeneous or heterogeneous recycling 22
-3.1.3 Heterogeneous recycling strategies 24
-3.1.4 Recycling approaches by countries 25
-3.2 Fast reactor transmutation issues associated with homogeneous recycling 25
-3.2.1 Fast reactor types for homogeneous recycling 26
-3.2.2 Assessment of variations in reactivity feedback coefficients for homogeneous recycling in fast reactors 26
-3.2.3 Minor actinide content evolution for homogeneous recycling in fast reactors 29
-3.2.4 JAEA approach and results of JSFR related studies 30
-3.2.5 Systematic evaluation of the impact of minor actinide loading for homogeneous recycling in fast reactors 39
-3.3 Issues related to heterogeneous recycling 40
-3.3.1 TRU composition of driver and target assemblies 40
-3.3.2 Fuel types according to strategy 41
-3.3.3 Core residence times for targets 43
-3.3.4 Core conversion ratio impacts 43
-3.3.5 Impact of neutron moderation in target fuel assemblies 43
-3.3.6 Helium generation in metallic target fuel  46
-3.3.7 Location of target assemblies 48
-3.3.8 Minor actinide core loading impacts  51
-3.4 Systematic study of characteristics of heterogeneous versus 55
-3.4.1 Homogeneous and heterogeneous recycle core designs 55
-3.4.2 Comparison of performance results 57
-3.4.3 Reactivity parameters of heterogeneous recycle cores 58
-3.4.4 Comparison of radiological data for homogeneous and heterogeneous recycle fuels 59
-3.4.5 Effect of LWR UNF cooling time 60
-3.4.6 Study of homogeneous versus heterogeneous recycle with European Lead-cooled Reactor System (ELSY)  61
-3.5 System and deployment issues  63
-3.5.1 Fraction of cores in nuclear park 63
-3.5.2 Fraction of target assemblies in heterogeneous recycle core  63
-3.5.3 Fast reactor deployment time  65
4. Fuel studies related to homogeneous and heterogeneous  69
-4.1 Introduction 69
-4.2 Summary on transmutation fuels development status  70
-4.3 Discussion 70
-4.3.1 Homogeneous recycle 70
-4.3.2 Target fuel for the heterogeneous recycle 74
-4.3.3 General issues associated with minor actinide-bearing fuels development  77
-4.3.4 Summary  78
5. Parameters and criteria for homogeneous and heterogeneous modes 81
-5.1 Non-proliferation  84
-5.2 Summary 86
Members of the Task Force 89
Acronyms 91

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