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Enhancing VVER Annular Proliferation Resistance Fuel with Minor Actinides

Description: Key aspects of the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) are to significantly advance the science and technology of nuclear energy systems and the Advanced Fuel Cycle (AFC) program. The merits of nuclear energy are the high-density energy, and low environmental impacts i.e. almost zero greenhouse gas emission. Planned efforts involve near-term and intermediate-term improvements in fuel utilization and recycling in current LWR as well as the longer-term development of new nuclear energy systems that offer much improved fuel utilization and proliferation resistance, along with continued advances in operational safety. The challenges are solving the energy needs of the world, protection against nuclear proliferation, the problem of nuclear waste, and the global environmental problem. To reduce the spent fuel for storage and enhance the proliferation resistance for the intermediate-term, there are two major approaches (a) increase the discharged spent fuel burnup in the advanced LWR (Gen-III Plus), which not only can reduce the spent fuel for storage, but also increase the 238Pu and 240Pu isotopes ratio to enhance the proliferation resistance, (b) use of transuranic nuclides (237Np and 241Am) in the high burnup fuel, which can drastically increase the proliferation resistance isotope 238Pu /Pu ratio. For future advanced nuclear systems, the minor actinides are viewed more as a resource to be recycled, or transmuted to less hazardous and possibly more useful forms, rather than simply as a waste stream to be disposed of in expensive repository facilities. In this paper, a typical pressurized water reactor (PWR) VVER-1000 annular fuel unit lattice cell model with UO2 fuel pins will be used to investigate the effectiveness of minor actinide reduction approach (MARA) for enhancing proliferation resistance and improving the fuel cycle performance. We concluded that the concept of MARA, involves the use of transuranic nuclides (237Np and/or 241Am), can not only drastically increase ...
Date: June 1, 2007
Creator: Chang, G. S.
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

Feasibility of Recycling Plutonium and Minor Actinides in Light Water Reactors Using Hydride Fuel

Description: The objective of this DOE NERI program sponsored project was to assess the feasibility of improving the plutonium (Pu) and minor actinide (MA) recycling capabilities of pressurized water reactors (PWRs) by using hydride instead of oxide fuels. There are four general parts to this assessment: 1) Identifying promising hydride fuel assembly designs for recycling Pu and MAs in PWRs 2) Performing a comprehensive systems analysis that compares the fuel cycle characteristics of Pu and MA recycling in PWRs using the promising hydride fuel assembly designs identified in Part 1 versus using oxide fuel assembly designs 3) Conducting a safety analysis to assess the likelihood of licensing hydride fuel assembly designs 4) Assessing the compatibility of hydride fuel with cladding materials and water under typical PWR operating conditions Hydride fuel was found to offer promising transmutation characteristics and is recommended for further examination as a possible preferred option for recycling plutonium in PWRs.
Date: March 10, 2009
Creator: Greenspan, Ehud; Todreas, Neil & Taiwo, Temitope
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Overview of the International R&D Recycling Activities of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle

Description: Nuclear power has demonstrated over the last 30 years its capacity to produce base-load electricity at a low, predictable and stable cost due to the very low economic dependence on the price of uranium. However the management of used nuclear fuel remains the “Achilles’ Heel” of this energy source since the storage of used nuclear fuel is increasing as evidenced by the following number with 2,000 tons of UNF produced each year by the 104 US nuclear reactor units which equates to a total of 62,000 spent fuel assemblies stored in dry cask and 88,000 stored in pools. Two options adopted by several countries will be presented. The first one adopted by Europe, Japan and Russia consists of recycling the used nuclear fuel after irradiation in a nuclear reactor. Ninety six percent of uranium and plutonium contained in the spent fuel could be reused to produce electricity and are worth recycling. The separation of uranium and plutonium from the wastes is realized through the industrial PUREX process so that they can be recycled for re-use in a nuclear reactor as a mixed oxide (MOX) fuel. The second option undertaken by Finland, Sweden and the United States implies the direct disposal of used nuclear fuel into a geologic formation. One has to remind that only 30% of the worldwide used nuclear fuel are currently recycled, the larger part being stored (90% in pool) waiting for scientific or political decisions. A third option is emerging with a closed fuel cycle which will improve the global sustainability of nuclear energy. This option will not only decrease the volume amount of nuclear waste but also the long-term radiotoxicity of the final waste, as well as improving the long-term safety and the heat-loading of the final repository. At the present time, numerous countries are focusing ...
Date: October 1, 2012
Creator: Paviet-Hartmann, Patricia
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

Proliferation Resistance Evaluation of ACR-1000 Fuel with Minor Actinides

Description: The Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) program is to significantly advance the science and technology of nuclear energy systems and to enhance the spent fuel proliferation resistance. It consists of both innovative nuclear reactors and innovative research in separation and transmutation. The merits of nuclear energy are high-density energy, with low environmental impacts (i.e. almost zero greenhouse gas emission). Planned efforts involve near-term and intermediate-term improvements in fuel utilization and recycling in current light water reactors (LWRs) as well as the longer-term development of new nuclear energy systems that offer much improved fuel utilization and proliferation resistance, along with continued advances in operational safety. For future advanced nuclear systems, minor actinides (MA) are viewed more as a resource to be recycled, and transmuted to less hazardous and possibly more useful forms, rather than simply disposed of as a waste stream in an expensive repository facility. MAs can play a much larger part in the design of advanced systems and fuel cycles, not only as additional sources of useful energy, but also as direct contributors to the reactivity control of the systems into which they are incorporated. In this work, an Advanced CANDU Reactor (ACR) fuel unit lattice cell model with 43 UO2 fuel rods will be used to investigate the effectiveness of a Minor Actinide Reduction Approach (MARA) for enhancing proliferation resistance and improving the fuel cycle performance. The main MARA objective is to increase the 238Pu / Pu isotope ratio by using the transuranic nuclides (237Np and 241Am) in the high burnup fuel and thereby increase the proliferation resistance even for a very low fuel burnup. As a result, MARA is a very effective approach to enhance the proliferation resistance for the on power refueling ACR system nuclear fuel. The MA transmutation characteristics at different MA loadings were compared ...
Date: September 1, 2008
Creator: Chang, Gray S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Evaluation of Homogeneous Options: Effects of Minor Actinide Exclusion from Single and Double Tier Recycle in Sodium Fast Reactors

Description: The Systems Analysis Campaign under the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) has requested the fuel cycle analysis group at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) to analyze and provide isotopic data for four scenarios in which different strategies for Minor Actinides (MA) management are investigated. A 1000 MWth commercial-scale Sodium Fast Reactor (SFR) design was selected as the baseline in this scenario study. Two transuranic (TRU) conversion ratios, defined as the ratio of the amount of TRU produced over the TRU destroyed in the reactor core, along with different fuel-types were investigated.
Date: March 1, 2008
Creator: Ferrer, R. M.; Bays, S. & Pope, M.
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

Systems Analysis of an Advanced Nuclear Fuel Cycle Based on a Modified UREX+3c Process

Description: The research described in this report was performed under a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to describe and compare the merits of two advanced alternative nuclear fuel cycles -- named by this study as the “UREX+3c fuel cycle” and the “Alternative Fuel Cycle” (AFC). Both fuel cycles were assumed to support 100 1,000 MWe light water reactor (LWR) nuclear power plants operating over the period 2020 through 2100, and the fast reactors (FRs) necessary to burn the plutonium and minor actinides generated by the LWRs. Reprocessing in both fuel cycles is assumed to be based on the UREX+3c process reported in earlier work by the DOE. Conceptually, the UREX+3c process provides nearly complete separation of the various components of spent nuclear fuel in order to enable recycle of reusable nuclear materials, and the storage, conversion, transmutation and/or disposal of other recovered components. Output of the process contains substantially all of the plutonium, which is recovered as a 5:1 uranium/plutonium mixture, in order to discourage plutonium diversion. Mixed oxide (MOX) fuel for recycle in LWRs is made using this 5:1 U/Pu mixture plus appropriate makeup uranium. A second process output contains all of the recovered uranium except the uranium in the 5:1 U/Pu mixture. The several other process outputs are various waste streams, including a stream of minor actinides that are stored until they are consumed in future FRs. For this study, the UREX+3c fuel cycle is assumed to recycle only the 5:1 U/Pu mixture to be used in LWR MOX fuel and to use depleted uranium (tails) for the makeup uranium. This fuel cycle is assumed not to use the recovered uranium output stream but to discard it instead. On the other hand, the AFC is assumed to recycle both the 5:1 U/Pu mixture and all of ...
Date: December 28, 2009
Creator: Johnson, E. R. & Best, R. E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department