Improving Natural Uranium Utilization By Using Thorium in Low Moderation PWRs - A Preliminary Neutronic Scoping Study

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The Th-U fuel cycle is not quite self-sustainable when used in water-cooled reactors and with fuel burnups higher than a few thousand of MWd/t characteristic of CANDU reactors operating with a continuous refueling. For the other industrially mature water-cooled reactors (i.e. PWRs and BWRs) it is economically necessary that the fuel has enough reactivity to reach fuel burnups of the order of a few tens of thousand of MWd/t. In this particular case, an additional input of fissile material is necessary to complement the bred fissile U-233. This additional fissile material could be included in the form of Highly Enriched ... continued below

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Youinou, Gilles & Somoza, Ignacio October 1, 2010.

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The Th-U fuel cycle is not quite self-sustainable when used in water-cooled reactors and with fuel burnups higher than a few thousand of MWd/t characteristic of CANDU reactors operating with a continuous refueling. For the other industrially mature water-cooled reactors (i.e. PWRs and BWRs) it is economically necessary that the fuel has enough reactivity to reach fuel burnups of the order of a few tens of thousand of MWd/t. In this particular case, an additional input of fissile material is necessary to complement the bred fissile U-233. This additional fissile material could be included in the form of Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) at the fabrication of the Th-U fuel. The objective of this preliminary neutronic scoping study is to determine (1) how much HEU and, consequently, how much natural uranium is necessary in such Th-U fuel cycle with U recycling and (2) how much TRansUranics (TRU=Pu, Np, Am and Cm) are produced. These numbers are then compared with those of a standard UO2 PWR. The thorium reactors considered have a homogeneous hexagonal lattice made up of the same (Th-U)O2 pins. Furthermore, at this point, we are not considering the use of blankets inside or outside the core. The lattice pitch has been varied to estimate the effect of the water-to-fuel volume ratio, and light water as well as heavy water have been considered. For most cases, an average burnup at discharge of 45,000 MWd/t has been considered.

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  • Report No.: INL/EXT-10-20155
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-05ID14517
  • DOI: 10.2172/991904 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 991904
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc1012183

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  • October 1, 2010

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Oct. 14, 2017, 8:36 a.m.

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  • Nov. 3, 2017, 4:34 p.m.

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Youinou, Gilles & Somoza, Ignacio. Improving Natural Uranium Utilization By Using Thorium in Low Moderation PWRs - A Preliminary Neutronic Scoping Study, report, October 1, 2010; Idaho. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1012183/: accessed July 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.