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University Programs of the U.S. Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative

Description: As the Advanced Accelerator Applications (AAA) Program, which was initiated in fiscal year 2001 (FY01), grows and transitions to the Advanced Fuel Cycle (AFC) Program in FY03, research for its underlying science and technology will require an ever larger cadre of educated scientists and trained technicians. In addition, other applications of nuclear science and engineering (e.g., proliferation monitoring and defense, nuclear medicine, safety regulation, industrial processes, and many others) require increased academic and national infrastructure and even larger student populations. Because of the recognition of these current and increasing requirements, the DOE began a multi-year program to involve university faculty and students in various phases of these Projects to support the infrastructure requirements of nuclear energy, science and technology fields as well as the special needs of the DOE transmutation program. Herein I summarize the goals and accomplishments of the university programs that have supported the AAA and AFC Programs during FY02, including the involvement of 120 students at more than 30 universities in the U.S. and abroad. I also highlight contributions to academic research from LANL, which hosted students from and sponsored research at more than 18 universities by more than 50 students and 20 faculty members, investing about 10% of its AFC budget.
Date: January 1, 2003
Creator: Beller, D. E. (Denis E.)
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department


Description: The direct conversion of the electrical energy of charged fission fragments was examined early in the nuclear reactor era, and the first theoretical treatment appeared in the literature in 1957. Most of the experiments conducted during the next ten years to investigate fission fragment direct energy conversion (DEC) were for understanding the nature and control of the charged particles. These experiments verified fundamental physics and identified a number of specific problem areas, but also demonstrated a number of technical challenges that limited DEC performance. Because DEC was insufficient for practical applications, by the late 1960s most R&D ceased in the US. Sporadic interest in the concept appears in the literature until this day, but there have been no recent programs to develop the technology. This has changed with the Nuclear Energy Research Initiative that was funded by the U.S. Congress in 1999. Most of the previous concepts were based on a fission electric cell known as a triode, where a central cathode is coated with a thin layer of nuclear fuel. A fission fragment that leaves the cathode with high kinetic energy and a large positive charge is decelerated as it approaches the anode by a charge differential of several million volts, it then deposits its charge in the anode after its kinetic energy is exhausted. Large numbers of low energy electrons leave the cathode with each fission fragment; they are suppressed by negatively biased on grid wires or by magnetic fields. Other concepts include magnetic collimators and quasi-direct magnetohydrodynamic generation (steady flow or pulsed). We present the basic principles of DEC fission reactors, review the previous research, discuss problem areas in detail and identify technological developments of the last 30 years relevant to overcoming these obstacles. A prognosis for future development of direct energy conversion fission reactors will be ...
Date: November 1, 2000
Creator: BELLER, D.; POLANSKY, G. & AL, ET
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department


Description: During 1999, the U.S. Department of Energy, in conjunction with its nuclear laboratories, a national steering committee, and a panel of world experts, developed a roadmap for research, development, demonstration, and deployment of Accelerator-driven Transmutation of Waste (ATW). The ATW concept that was examined in this roadmap study was based on that developed at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) during the 1990s. The reference deployment scenario in the Roadmap was developed to treat 86,300 tn (metric tonnes initial heavy metal) of spent nuclear fuel that will accumulate through 2035 from existing U.S. nuclear power plants (without license extensions). The disposition of this spent nuclear reactor fuel is an issue of national importance, as is disposition of spent fuel in other nations. The U.S. program for the disposition of this once-through fuel is focused to characterize a candidate site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada for a geological repository for spent fuel and high-level waste. The ATW concept is being examined in the U.S. because removal of plutonium minor actinides, and two very long-lived isotopes from the spent fuel can achieve some important objectives. These objectives include near-elimination of plutonium, reduction of the inventory and mobility of long-lived radionuclides in the repository, and use of the remaining energy content of the spent fuel to produce power. The long-lived radionuclides iodine and technetium have roughly one million year half-lives, and they are candidates for transport into the environment via movement of ground water. The scientists and engineers who contributed to the Roadmap Study determined that the ATW is affordable, doable, and its deployment would support all the objectives. We report the status of the U.S. ATW program describe baseline and alternate technologies, and discuss deployment scenarios to support the existing U.S. nuclear capability and/or future growth with a variety of new fuel cycles.
Date: November 1, 2000
Creator: BELLER, D. & TUYLE, G. VAN
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Experimental Results in the Comparison of Search Algorithms Used with Room Temperature Detectors

Description: Analysis of time sequence data was run for several higher resolution scintillation detectors using a variety of search algorithms, and results were obtained in predicting the relative performance for these detectors, which included a slightly superior performance by CeBr{sub 3}. Analysis of several search algorithms shows that inclusion of the RSPRT methodology can improve sensitivity.
Date: November 1, 2010
Creator: Guss, P., Yuan, D., Cutler, M., Beller, D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Closed ThUOX Fuel Cycle for LWRs with ADTT (ATW) Backend for the 21st Century

Description: A future nuclear energy scenario with a closed, thorium-uranium-oxide (ThUOX) fuel cycle and new light water reactors (TULWRs) supported by Accelerator Transmutation of Waste (ATW) systems could provide several improvements beyond today's once-through, UO{sub 2}-fueled nuclear technology. A deployment scenario with TULWRs plus ATWs to burn the actinides produced by these LWRs and to close the back-end of the ThUOX fuel cycle was modeled to satisfy a US demand that increases linearly from 80 GWe in 2020 to 200 GWe by 2100. During the first 20 years of the scenario (2000-2020), nuclear energy production in the US declines from today's 100 GWe to about 80 GWe, in accordance with forecasts of the US DOE's Energy Information Administration. No new nuclear systems are added during this declining nuclear energy period, and all existing LWRs are shut down by 2045. Beginning in 2020, ATWs that transmute the actinides from existing LWRs are deployed, along with TULWRs and additional ATWs with a support ratio of 1 ATW to 7 TULWRs to meet the energy demand scenario. A final mix of 174 GWe from TULWRs and 26 GWe from ATWs provides the 200 GWe demand in 2100. Compared to a once-through LWR scenario that meets the same energy demand, the TULWR/ATW concept could result in the following improvements: depletion of natural uranium resources would be reduced by 50%; inventories of Pu which may result in weapons proliferation will be reduced in quantity by more than 98% and in quality because of higher neutron emissions and 50 times the alpha-decay heating of weapons-grade plutonium; actinides (and possibly fission products) for final disposal in nuclear waste would be substantially reduced; and the cost of fuel and the fuel cycle may be 20-30% less than the once-through UO{sub 2} fuel cycle.
Date: October 6, 1998
Creator: Beller, D.E.; Sailor, W.C. & Venneri, F.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

A roadmap for the development ATW technology: Systems scenarios and integration

Description: As requested by the US Congress, a roadmap has been established for development of ATW Technology. The roadmap defines a reference system along with preferred technologies which require further development to reduce technical risk, associated deployment scenarios, and a detailed plan of necessary R and D to support implementation of this technology. Also, the potential for international collaboration is discussed which has the potential to reduce the cost of the program. In addition, institutional issues are described that must be addressed in order to successfully pursue this technology, and the benefits resulting from full implementation are discussed. This report uses as its reference a fast spectrum liquid metal cooled system. Although Lead-Bismuth Eutectic is the preferred option, sodium coolant is chosen as the reference (backup) technology because it represents the lowest technical risk and an excellent basis for estimating the life cycle cost of the systems exists in the work carried out under DOE's ALMR (PRISM) program. Metal fuel and associated pyrochemical treatment is assumed. Similarly a linear accelerator has been adopted as the reference. A reference ATW plant was established to ensure consistent discussion of technical and life cycle cost issues. Over 60 years of operation, the reference ATW plant would process about 10,000 tn of spent nuclear reactor fuel. This is in comparison to the current inventory of about 40,000 tn of spent fuel and the projected inventory of about 86,000 tn of spent fuel if all currently licensed nuclear power plants run until their license expire. The reference ATW plant was used together with an assumed scenario of no new nuclear plant orders in the US to generate the deployment scenario for ATW. In the R and D roadmap, key technical issues are identified and timescales proposed for the resolution of these issues. For the accelerator the ...
Date: October 6, 1999
Creator: Hill, D.; Van Tuyle, G. & Beller, D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

University programs of the U.S. Department of Energy advanced accelerator applications program

Description: The Advanced Accelerator Applications (AAA) Program was initiated in fiscal year 2001 (FY-01) by the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in partnership with other national laboratories. The primary goal of this program is to investigate the feasibility of transmutation of nuclear waste. An Accelerator-Driven Test Facility (ADTF), which may be built during the first decade of the 21st Century, is a major component of this effort. The ADTF would include a large, state-of-the-art charged-particle accelerator, proton-neutron target systems, and accelerator-driven R&D systems. This new facility and its underlying science and technology will require a large cadre of educated scientists and trained technicians. In addition, other applications of nuclear science and engineering (e.g., proliferation monitoring and defense, nuclear medicine, safety regulation, industrial processes, and many others) require increased academic and national infrastructure and student populations. Thus, the AAA Program Office has begun a multi-year program to involve university faculty and students in various phases of the Project to support the infrastructure requirements of nuclear energy, science and technology fields as well as the special needs of the DOE transmutation program. In this paper we describe university programs that have supported, are supporting, and will support the R&D necessary for the AAA Project. Previous work included research for the Accelerator Transmutation of Waste (ATW) project, current (FY-01) programs include graduate fellowships and research for the AAA Project, and it is expected that future programs will expand and add to the existing programs.
Date: January 1, 2001
Creator: Beller, D. E. (Denis E.); Ward, T. E. (Thomas E.) & Bresee, J. C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Nuclear Futures Analysis and Scenario Building

Description: This LDRD project created and used advanced analysis capabilities to postulate scenarios and identify issues, externalities, and technologies associated with future ''things nuclear''. ''Things nuclear'' include areas pertaining to nuclear weapons, nuclear materials, and nuclear energy, examined in the context of future domestic and international environments. Analysis tools development included adaptation and expansion of energy, environmental, and economics (E3) models to incorporate a robust description of the nuclear fuel cycle (both current and future technology pathways), creation of a beginning proliferation risk model (coupled to the (E3) model), and extension of traditional first strike stability models to conditions expected to exist in the future (smaller force sizes, multipolar engagement environments, inclusion of actual and latent nuclear weapons (capability)). Accomplishments include scenario development for regional and global nuclear energy, the creation of a beginning nuclear architecture designed to improve the proliferation resistance and environmental performance of the nuclear fuel cycle, and numerous results for future nuclear weapons scenarios.
Date: July 9, 1999
Creator: Arthur, E.D.; Beller, D.; Canavan, G.H.; Krakowski, R.A.; Peterson, P. & Wagner, R.L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Measurement and Analysis Plan for Investigation of Spent-Fuel Assay Using Lead Slowing-Down Spectroscopy

Description: Under funding from the Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy’s Materials, Protection, Accounting, and Control for Transmutation (MPACT) program (formerly the Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative Safeguards Campaign), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) are collaborating to study the viability of lead slowing-down spectroscopy (LSDS) for spent-fuel assay. Based on the results of previous simulation studies conducted by PNNL and LANL to estimate potential LSDS performance, a more comprehensive study of LSDS viability has been defined. That study includes benchmarking measurements, development and testing of key enabling instrumentation, and continued study of time-spectra analysis methods. This report satisfies the requirements for a PNNL/LANL deliverable that describes the objectives, plans and contributing organizations for a comprehensive three-year study of LSDS for spent-fuel assay. This deliverable was generated largely during the LSDS workshop held on August 25-26, 2009 at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). The workshop itself was a prominent milestone in the FY09 MPACT project and is also described within this report.
Date: September 25, 2009
Creator: Smith, Leon E.; Haas, Derek A.; Gavron, Victor A.; Imel, G. R.; Ressler, Jennifer J.; Bowyer, Sonya M. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Direct energy conversion in fission reactors: A U.S. NERI project

Description: In principle, the energy released by a fission can be converted directly into electricity by using the charged fission fragments. The first theoretical treatment of direct energy conversion (DEC) appeared in the literature in 1957. Experiments were conducted over the next ten years, which identified a number of problem areas. Research declined by the late 1960's due to technical challenges that limited performance. Under the Nuclear Energy Research Initiative the authors are determining if these technical challenges can be overcome with todays technology. The authors present the basic principles of DEC reactors, review previous research, discuss problem areas in detail, and identify technological developments of the last 30 years that can overcome these obstacles. As an example, the fission electric cell must be insulated to avoid electrons crossing the cell. This insulation could be provided by a magnetic field as attempted in the early experiments. However, from work on magnetically insulated ion diodes they know how to significantly improve the field geometry. Finally, a prognosis for future development of DEC reactors will be presented .
Date: May 30, 2000
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Lead Slowing-Down Spectrometry for Spent Fuel Assay: FY11 Status Report

Description: Executive Summary Developing a method for the accurate, direct, and independent assay of the fissile isotopes in bulk materials (such as used fuel) from next-generation domestic nuclear fuel cycles is a goal of the Office of Nuclear Energy, Fuel Cycle R&D, Material Protection and Control Technology (MPACT) Campaign. To meet this goal, MPACT supports a multi-institutional collaboration to study the feasibility of Lead Slowing Down Spectroscopy (LSDS). This technique is an active nondestructive assay method that has the potential to provide independent, direct measurement of Pu and U isotopic masses in used fuel with an uncertainty considerably lower than the approximately 10% typical of today’s confirmatory assay methods. This document is a progress report for FY2011 collaboration activities. Progress made by the collaboration in FY2011 continues to indicate the promise of LSDS techniques applied to used fuel. PNNL developed an empirical model based on calibration of the LSDS to responses generated from well-characterized used fuel. The empirical model demonstrated the potential for the direct and independent assay of the sum of the masses of 239Pu and 241Pu to within approximately 3% over a wide used fuel parameter space. Similar results were obtained using a perturbation approach developed by LANL. Benchmark measurements have been successfully conducted at LANL and at RPI using their respective LSDS instruments. The ISU and UNLV collaborative effort is focused on the fabrication and testing of prototype fission chambers lined with ultra-depleted 238U and 232Th, and uranium deposition on a stainless steel disc using spiked U3O8 from room temperature ionic liquid was successful, with improving thickness obtained. In FY2012, the collaboration plans a broad array of activities. PNNL will focus on optimizing its empirical model and minimizing its reliance on calibration data, as well continuing efforts on developing an analytical model. Additional measurements are planned at LANL ...
Date: August 1, 2011
Creator: Warren, Glen A.; Casella, Andrew M.; Haight, R. C.; Anderson, Kevin K.; Danon, Yaron; Hatchett, D. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department