Description: A preliminary assessment is made of the potential role of actinide burning and the Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) in the future of nuclear power. The development of a usable actinide burning strategy could be an important factor in the acceptance and implementation of a next generation of nuclear power. First, the need for nuclear generating capacity is established through the analysis of energy and electricity demand forecasting models which cover the spectrum of bias from anti-nuclear to pro-nuclear. The analyses take into account the issues of global warming and the potential for technological advances in energy efficiency. We conclude, as do many others, that there will almost certainly be a need for substantial nuclear power capacity in the 2000--2030 time frame. We point out also that any reprocessing scheme will open up proliferation-related questions which can only be assessed in very specific contexts. The focus of this report is on the fuel cycle impacts of actinide burning. Scenarios are developed for the deployment of future nuclear generating capacity which exploit the advantages of actinide partitioning and actinide burning. Three alternative reactor designs are utilized in these future scenarios: The Light Water Reactor (LWR); the Modular Gas-Cooled Reactor (MGR); and the Integral Fast Reactor (FR). Each of these alternative reactor designs is described in some detail, with specific emphasis on their spent fuel streams and the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle. Four separation and partitioning processes are utilized in building the future nuclear power scenarios: Thermal reactor spent fuel preprocessing to reduce the ceramic oxide spent fuel to metallic form, the conventional PUREX process, the TRUEX process, and pyrometallurgical reprocessing.
Date: December 1, 1990
Creator: Hollaway, W. R.; Lidsky, L. M. & Miller, M. M.
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