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Description: Five fuel cycle options, about which little is known compared to more commonly known options, have been studied in the past year for the United States Department of Energy. These fuel cycle options, and their features relative to uranium-fueled light water reactor (LWR)-based fuel cycles, include: • Advanced once-through reactor concepts (Advanced Once-Through, or AOT) – intended for high uranium utilization and long reactor operating life, use depleted uranium in some cases, and avoid or minimize used fuel reprocessing • Fission-fusion hybrid (FFH) reactor concepts – potential variations are intended for high uranium or thorium utilization, produce fissile material for use in power generating reactors, or transmute transuranic (TRU) and some radioactive fission product (FP) isotopes • High temperature gas reactor (HTGR) concepts - intended for high uranium utilization, high reactor thermal efficiencies; they have unique fuel designs • Molten salt reactor (MSR) concepts – can breed fissile U-233 from Th fuel and avoid or minimize U fuel enrichment, use on-line reprocessing of the used fuel, produce lesser amounts of long-lived, highly radiotoxic TRU elements, and avoid fuel assembly fabrication • Thorium/U-233 fueled LWR (Th/U-233) concepts – can breed fissile U-233 from Th fuel and avoid or minimize U fuel enrichment, and produce lesser amounts of long-lived, highly radiotoxic TRU elements. These fuel cycle options could result in widely different types and amounts of used or spent fuels, spent reactor core materials, and waste streams from used fuel reprocessing, such as: • Highly radioactive, high-burnup used metal, oxide, or inert matrix U and/or Th fuels, clad in Zr, steel, or composite non-metal cladding or coatings • Spent radioactive-contaminated graphite, SiC, carbon-carbon-composite, metal, and Be reactor core materials • Li-Be-F salts containing U, TRU, Th, and fission products • Ranges of separated or un-separated activation products, fission products, and actinides. Waste ...
Date: November 1, 2010
Creator: Soelberg, Nick & Piet, Steve
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Dynamic Analysis of Fuel Cycle Transitioning

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
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

System Losses and Assessment Trade Study

Description: This Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative (AFCI) study has developed new analysis methods to examine old and new technology options toward the goal of improving fuel cycle systems. We have integrated participants and information from AFCI Systems Analysis, Transmutation Fuels, Separations, and Waste Form Campaigns in the Systems Losses and Assessment Trade Study. The initial objectives of this study were to 1) increase understanding of system interdependencies and thereby identify system trade-offs that may yield important insights, 2) define impacts of separations product purity on fuel manufacture and transmutation reactivity, 3) define impacts from transuranic (TRU) losses to waste, 4) identify the interrelationships involved in fuels and separations technology performance, and 5) identify system configuration adjustments with the greatest potential for influencing system losses. While bounding and analyzing this initial problem, we also identified significantly higher-level programmatic drivers with broad implications to the current fuel cycle research charter and the general issue of a DOE complex wide need for a comprehensive and integrated nuclear material management as addressed by the new DOE Order 410.2 titled “Management of Nuclear Materials”. The initial modeling effort developed in this study for a much smaller subset of material (i.e., commercial fuel) and a selected transmutation scheme (i.e., fast reactor recycling) is a necessary first step towards examining a broader set of nuclear material management options, dispositioning strategies and integrated waste management options including potential areas of research leverage. The primary outcome from this initial study has been an enhanced integration among Campaigns and associated insights and analysis methods. Opportunities for improved understanding between the groups abound. The above lanthanide-actinide example highlights the importance of evaluating options via integration across the Campaigns. Plans for Fiscal Year 2010 are being made in a coordinated fashion such that the knowledge gained from the research performed by the Campaigns ...
Date: September 1, 2009
Creator: Shropshire, David; Piet, Steve; Soelberg, Nick; Cherry, Robert; Henry, Roger; Meikrantz, David et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Combined Waste Form Cost Trade Study

Description: A new generation of aqueous nuclear fuel reprocessing, now in development under the auspices of the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE), separates fuel into several fractions, thereby partitioning the wastes into groups of common chemistry. This technology advance enables development of waste management strategies that were not conceivable with simple PUREX reprocessing. Conventional wisdom suggests minimizing high level waste (HLW) volume is desirable, but logical extrapolation of this concept suggests that at some point the cost of reducing volume further will reach a point of diminishing return and may cease to be cost-effective. This report summarizes an evaluation considering three groupings of wastes in terms of cost-benefit for the reprocessing system. Internationally, the typical waste form for HLW from the PUREX process is borosilicate glass containing waste elements as oxides. Unfortunately several fission products (primarily Mo and the noble metals Ru, Rh, Pd) have limited solubility in glass, yielding relatively low waste loading, producing more glass, and greater disposal costs. Advanced separations allow matching the waste form to waste stream chemistry, allowing the disposal system to achieve more optimum waste loading with improved performance. Metals can be segregated from oxides and each can be stabilized in forms to minimize the HLW volume for repository disposal. Thus, a more efficient waste management system making the most effective use of advanced waste forms and disposal design for each waste is enabled by advanced separations and how the waste streams are combined. This trade-study was designed to juxtapose a combined waste form baseline waste treatment scheme with two options and to evaluate the cost-benefit using available data from the conceptual design studies supported by DOE-NE.
Date: November 1, 2008
Creator: Gombert, Dirk; Piet, Steve; Trickel, Timothy; Carter, Joe; Vienna, John; Ebert, Bill et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department