Destruction of plutonium using non-uranium fuels in pressurized water reactor peripheral assemblies

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This thesis examines and confirms the feasibility of using non-uranium fuel in a pressurized water reactor (PWR) radial blanket to eliminate plutonium of both weapons and civilian origin. In the equilibrium cycle, the periphery of the PWR is loaded with alternating fresh and once burned non-uranium fuel assemblies, with the interior of the core comprised of conventional three batch UO{sub 2} assemblies. Plutonium throughput is such that there is no net plutonium production: production in the interior is offset by destruction in the periphery. Using this approach a 50 MT WGPu inventory could be eliminated in approximately 400 reactor years ... continued below

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294 p.

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Chodak, P., III May 1, 1996.

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Description

This thesis examines and confirms the feasibility of using non-uranium fuel in a pressurized water reactor (PWR) radial blanket to eliminate plutonium of both weapons and civilian origin. In the equilibrium cycle, the periphery of the PWR is loaded with alternating fresh and once burned non-uranium fuel assemblies, with the interior of the core comprised of conventional three batch UO{sub 2} assemblies. Plutonium throughput is such that there is no net plutonium production: production in the interior is offset by destruction in the periphery. Using this approach a 50 MT WGPu inventory could be eliminated in approximately 400 reactor years of operation. Assuming all other existing constraints were removed, the 72 operating US PWRs could disposition 50 MT of WGPu in 5.6 years. Use of a low fissile loading plutonium-erbium inert-oxide-matrix composition in the peripheral assemblies essentially destroys 100% of the {sup 239}Pu and {ge}90% {sub total}Pu over two 18 month fuel cycles. Core radial power peaking, reactivity vs EFPD profiles and core average reactivity coefficients were found to be comparable to standard PWR values. Hence, minimal impact on reload licensing is anticipated. Examination of potential candidate fuel matrices based on the existing experience base and thermo-physical properties resulted in the recommendation of three inert fuel matrix compositions for further study: zirconia, alumina and TRISO particle fuels. Objective metrics for quantifying the inherent proliferation resistance of plutonium host waste and fuel forms are proposed and were applied to compare the proposed spent WGPu non-uranium fuel to spent WGPu MOX fuels and WGPu borosilicate glass logs. The elimination disposition option spent non-uranium fuel product was found to present significantly greater barriers to proliferation than other plutonium disposal products.

Physical Description

294 p.

Notes

INIS; OSTI as DE97053625

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  • Other Information: TH: Thesis (Ph.D.)

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  • Other: DE97053625
  • Report No.: DOE/OR/00033--T748
  • Grant Number: AC05-76OR00033
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 658334
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc709720

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • May 1, 1996

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 12, 2015, 6:31 a.m.

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  • Feb. 20, 2017, 1:48 p.m.

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Chodak, P., III. Destruction of plutonium using non-uranium fuels in pressurized water reactor peripheral assemblies, thesis or dissertation, May 1, 1996; Cambridge, Massachusetts. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc709720/: accessed November 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.