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Impact of Including Higher Actinides in Fast Reactor Transmutation Analyses

Description: Previous fast reactor transmutation studies generally disregarded higher mass minor actinides beyond Cm-246 due to various considerations including deficiencies in nuclear cross-section data. Although omission of these higher mass actinides does not significantly impact the neutronic calculations and fuel cycle performance parameters follow-on neutron dose calculations related to fuel recycling, transportation and handling are significantly impacted. This report shows that including the minor actinides in the equilibrium fast reactor calculations will increase the predicted neutron emission by about 30%. In addition a sensitivity study was initiated by comparing the impact of different cross-section evaluation file for representing these minor actinides.
Date: September 1, 2007
Creator: Forget, B.; Asgari, M.; Ferrer, R. & Bays, S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Fast Reactor Alternative Studies: Effects of Transuranic Groupings on Metal and Oxide Sodium Fast Reactor Designs

Description: A 1000 MWth commercial-scale Sodium Fast Reactor (SFR) design with a conversion ratio (CR) of 0.50 was selected in this study to perform perturbations on the external feed coming from Light Water Reactor Spent Nuclear Fuel (LWR SNF) and separation groupings in the reprocessing scheme. A secondary SFR design with a higher conversion ratio (CR=0.75) was also analyzed as a possible alternative, although no perturbations were applied to this model.
Date: September 1, 2007
Creator: Ferrer, R.; Asgari, M.; Bays, S. & Forget, B.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Computational Neutronics Methods and Transmutation Performance Analyses for Fast Reactors

Description: The once-through fuel cycle strategy in the United States for the past six decades has resulted in an accumulation of Light Water Reactor (LWR) Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF). This SNF contains considerable amounts of transuranic (TRU) elements that limit the volumetric capacity of the current planned repository strategy. A possible way of maximizing the volumetric utilization of the repository is to separate the TRU from the LWR SNF through a process such as UREX+1a, and convert it into fuel for a fast-spectrum Advanced Burner Reactor (ABR). The key advantage in this scenario is the assumption that recycling of TRU in the ABR (through pyroprocessing or some other approach), along with a low capture-to-fission probability in the fast reactor’s high-energy neutron spectrum, can effectively decrease the decay heat and toxicity of the waste being sent to the repository. The decay heat and toxicity reduction can thus minimize the need for multiple repositories. This report summarizes the work performed by the fuel cycle analysis group at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) to establish the specific technical capability for performing fast reactor fuel cycle analysis and its application to a high-priority ABR concept. The high-priority ABR conceptual design selected is a metallic-fueled, 1000 MWth SuperPRISM (S-PRISM)-based ABR with a conversion ratio of 0.5. Results from the analysis showed excellent agreement with reference values. The independent model was subsequently used to study the effects of excluding curium from the transuranic (TRU) external feed coming from the LWR SNF and recycling the curium produced by the fast reactor itself through pyroprocessing. Current studies to be published this year focus on analyzing the effects of different separation strategies as well as heterogeneous TRU target systems.
Date: March 1, 2007
Creator: Ferrer, R.; Asgari, M.; Bays, S. & Forget, B.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Summary Report on New Transmutation Analysis for the Evaluation of Homogeneous and Heterogeneous Options in Fast Reactors

Description: A 1000 MWth commercial-scale Sodium Fast Reactor (SFR) design was selected as the baseline in this scenario study. Traditional approaches to Light Water Reactor (LWR) Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF) transuranic waste (TRU) burning in a fast spectrum system have typically focused on the continual homogeneous recycling (reprocessing) of the discharge fast reactor fuel. The effective reduction of transuranic inventories has been quantified through the use of the transuranics conversion ratio (TRU CR). The implicit assumption in the use of this single parameter is a homogeneous fast reactor option where equal weight is given to the destruction of transuranics, either by fission or eventual fission via transmutation. This work explores the potential application of alternative fast reactor fuel cycles in which the minor actinide (MA) component of the TRU is considered ‘waste’, while the plutonium component is considered as fuel. Specifically, a set of potential designs that incorporate radial heterogeneous target assemblies is proposed and results relevant to transmutation and system analysis are presented. In this work we consider exclusively minor actinide-bearing radial targets in a continual reprocessing scenario (as opposed to deep-burn options). The potential use of targets in a deep burn mode is not necessarily ruled out as an option. However, due to work scope constraints and material limit considerations, it was preferred to leave the target assemblies reach either the assumed limit of 200 DPA at discharge or maximum allowable gas pressure caused by helium production from transmutation. The number and specific design of the target assemblies was chosen to satisfy the necessary core symmetry and physical dimensions (available space for a certain amount of mass in an assembly based on an iterated mass density).
Date: August 1, 2008
Creator: Ferrer, R. M.; Bays, S.; Pope, M.; Forget, B.; Skerjanc, W. & Asgari, M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Computational Neutronics Methods and Transmutation Performance Analyses for Light Water Reactors

Description: The urgency for addressing repository impacts has grown in the past few years as a result of Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF) accumulation from commercial nuclear power plants. One obvious path that has been explored by many is to eliminate the transuranic (TRU) inventory from the SNF thus reducing the need for additional long term repository storage sites. One strategy for achieving this is to burn the separated TRU elements in the currently operating U.S. Light Water Reactor (LWR) fleet. Many studies have explored the viability of this strategy by loading a percentage of LWR cores with TRU in the form of either Mixed Oxide (MOX) fuels or Inert Matrix Fuels (IMF). A task was undertaken at INL to establish specific technical capabilities to perform neutronics analyses in order to further assess several key issues related to the viability of thermal recycling. The initial computational study reported here is focused on direct thermal recycling of IMF fuels in a heterogeneous Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) bundle design containing Plutonium, Neptunium, Americium, and Curium (IMF-PuNpAmCm) in a multi-pass strategy using legacy 5 year cooled LWR SNF. In addition to this initial high-priority analysis, three other alternate analyses with different TRU vectors in IMF pins were performed. These analyses provide comparison of direct thermal recycling of PuNpAmCm, PuNpAm, PuNp, and Pu.
Date: March 1, 2007
Creator: Asgari, M.; Forget, B.; Piet, S.; Ferrer, R. & Bays, S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department