Description: This paper examines the time-dependent dynamics of transitioning from a once-through fuel cycle to a closed fuel cycle. The once-through system involves only Light Water Reactors (LWRs) operating on uranium oxide fuel UOX), while the closed cycle includes both LWRs and fast spectrum reactors (FRs) in either a single-tier system or two-tier fuel system. The single-tier system includes full transuranic recycle in FRs while the two-tier system adds one pass of mixed oxide uranium-plutonium (MOX U-Pu) fuel in the LWR. While the analysis primarily focuses on burner fast reactors, transuranic conversion ratios up to 1.0 are assessed and many of the findings apply to any fuel cycle transitioning from a thermal once-through system to a synergistic thermal-fast recycle system. These findings include uranium requirements for a range of nuclear electricity growth rates, the importance of back end fuel cycle facility timing and magnitude, the impact of employing a range of fast reactor conversion ratios, system sensitivity to used fuel cooling time prior to recycle, impacts on a range of waste management indicators, and projected electricity cost ranges for once-through, single-tier and two-tier systems. The study confirmed that significant waste management benefits can be realized as soon as recycling is initiated, but natural uranium savings are minimal in this century. The use of MOX in LWRs decouples the development of recycle facilities from fast reactor fielding, but also significantly delays and limits fast reactor deployment. In all cases, fast reactor deployment was significantly below than predicted by static equilibrium analyses.
Date: September 1, 2009
Creator: Dixon, Brent; Piet, Steve; Shropshire, David & Matthern, Gretchen
Item Type: Refine your search to only Article
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