Optimization of accelerator-driven technology for LWR waste transmutation

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The role of accelerator-driven transmutation technology is examined in the context of the destruction of actinide waste from commercial light water reactors. It is pointed out that the commercial plutonium is much easier to use for entry-level nuclear weapons than weapons plutonium. Since commercial plutonium is easier to use, since there is very much more of it already, and since it is growing rapidly, the permanent disposition of commercial plutonium is an issue of greater importance than weapons plutonium. The minor actinides inventory, which may be influenced by transmutation, is compared in terms of nuclear properties with commercial and weapons ... continued below

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28 p.

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Bowman, C.D. December 31, 1996.

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Description

The role of accelerator-driven transmutation technology is examined in the context of the destruction of actinide waste from commercial light water reactors. It is pointed out that the commercial plutonium is much easier to use for entry-level nuclear weapons than weapons plutonium. Since commercial plutonium is easier to use, since there is very much more of it already, and since it is growing rapidly, the permanent disposition of commercial plutonium is an issue of greater importance than weapons plutonium. The minor actinides inventory, which may be influenced by transmutation, is compared in terms of nuclear properties with commercial and weapons plutonium and for possible utility as weapons material. Fast and thermal spectrum systems are compared as means for destruction of plutonium and the minor actinides. it is shown that the equilibrium fast spectrum actinide inventory is about 100 times larger than for thermal spectrum systems, and that there is about 100 times more weapons-usable material in the fast spectrum system inventory compared to the thermal spectrum system. Finally it is shown that the accelerator size for transmutation can be substantially reduced by design which uses the accelerator-produced neutrons only to initiate the unsustained fission chains characteristic of the subcritical system. The analysis argues for devoting primary attention to the development of thermal spectrum transmutation technology. A thermal spectrum transmuter operating at a fission power of 750-MWth fission power, which is sufficient to destroy the actinide waste from one 3,000-MWth light water reactor, may be driven by a proton beam of 1 GeV energy and a current of 7 mA. This accelerator is within the range of realizable cyclotron technology and is also near the size contemplated for the next generation spallation neutron source under consideration by the US, Europe, and Japan.

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28 p.

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INIS; OSTI as DE97002450

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  • GLOBAL `97: international conference on future nuclear systems, Yokohama (Japan), 5-10 Oct 1997

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  • Other: DE97002450
  • Report No.: LA-UR--96-4608
  • Report No.: CONF-971004--1
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-36
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 537359
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc693365

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  • December 31, 1996

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Aug. 14, 2015, 8:43 a.m.

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  • Feb. 29, 2016, 6:45 p.m.

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Bowman, C.D. Optimization of accelerator-driven technology for LWR waste transmutation, article, December 31, 1996; New Mexico. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc693365/: accessed August 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.