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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

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

Issues for Conceptual Design of AFCF and CFTC LWR Spent Fuel Separations Influencing Next-Generation Aqueous Fuel Reprocessing

Description: In 2007, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) published the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) strategic plan, which aims to meet US and international energy, safeguards, fuel supply and environmental needs by harnessing national laboratory R&D, deployment by industry and use of international partnerships. Initially, two industry-led commercial scale facilities, an advanced burner reactor (ABR) and a consolidated fuel treatment center (CFTC), and one developmental facility, an advanced fuel cycle facility (AFCF) are proposed. The national laboratories will lead the AFCF to provide an internationally recognized R&D center of excellence for developing transmutation fuels and targets and advancing fuel cycle reprocessing technology using aqueous and pyrochemical methods. The design drivers for AFCF and the CFTC LWR spent fuel separations are expected to impact on and partly reflect those for industry, which is engaging with DOE in studies for CFTC and ABR through the recent GNEP funding opportunity announcement (FOA). The paper summarizes the state-of-the-art of aqueous reprocessing, gives an assessment of engineering drivers for U.S. aqueous processing facilities, examines historic plant capital costs and provides conclusions with a view to influencing design of next-generation fuel reprocessing plants.
Date: September 1, 2007
Creator: Hebditch, D.; Henry, R.; Goff, M.; Pasamehmetoglu, K. & Ostby, D.
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

PRELIMINARY DATA CALL REPORT ADVANCED BURNER REACTOR START UP FUEL FABRICATION FACILITY

Description: The purpose of this report is to provide data for preparation of a NEPA Environmental Impact Statement in support the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP). One of the GNEP objectives is to reduce the inventory of long lived actinide from the light water reactor (LWR) spent fuel. The LWR spent fuel contains Plutonium (Pu) -239 and other transuranics (TRU) such as Americium-241. One of the options is to transmute or burn these actinides in fast neutron spectra as well as generate the electricity. A sodium-cooled Advanced Recycling Reactor (ARR) concept has been proposed to achieve this goal. However, fuel with relatively high TRU content has not been used in the fast reactor. To demonstrate the utilization of TRU fuel in a fast reactor, an Advanced Burner Reactor (ABR) prototype of ARR is proposed, which would necessarily be started up using weapons grade (WG) Pu fuel. The WG Pu is distinguished by relatively highest proportions of Pu-239 and lesser amount of other actinides. The WG Pu will be used as the startup fuel along with TRU fuel in lead test assemblies. Because such fuel is not currently being produced in the US, a new facility (or new capability in an existing facility) is being considered for fabrication of WG Pu fuel for the ABR. This report is provided in response to ‘Data Call’ for the construction of startup fuel fabrication facility. It is anticipated that the facility will provide the startup fuel for 10-15 years and will take to 3 to 5 years to construct.
Date: April 1, 2007
Creator: Khericha, S. T.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department