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The UK ADSR programme. Roger Barlow FFAG08 Manchester, 4 th September 2008. History. BASROC/CONFORM “Basic Technology” project for nsFFAGs Funded on the basis that nsFFAGs were an exploitable technology: we can build better+cheaper accelerators and open up lots of new applications

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the uk adsr programme

The UK ADSR programme

Roger Barlow


Manchester, 4th September 2008


BASROC/CONFORM “Basic Technology” project for nsFFAGs

Funded on the basis that nsFFAGs were an exploitable technology: we can build better+cheaper accelerators and open up lots of new applications

  • Build EMMA as proof of principle
  • Design PAMELA as a flagship application
  • Look for other applications ‘from Archaeology to Zoology’

UK ADSR Programme

application 2 adsrs
Application #2ADSRs

Spallation Target

Accelerator Driven Subcritical Reactors

“Manifestly Safe”

Used for power and for waste transmutation

Can use Thorium as fuel



UK ADSR Programme


Fertile, not fissile 232Th +n 233U

  • Much smaller waste problems (no long-lived actinides)
  • Proliferation resistant
    • No 235U equivalent
    • Fissile 233U contaminated by ‘too hot to handle’ 232U
  • Abundant
  • Thoria – ThO2 – has high melting point

UK ADSR Programme

energy amplifier rubbia
Energy Amplifier (Rubbia)

Idea has been around for years

Nobody’s built one yet!

Feeling is that the accelerator is the weak point.

Also MYRRHA, KURRI and others

UK ADSR Programme

uk interest

Safer? But our reactors are safe…

Waste problem? But we’ve solved it…


Increased awareness of power problem

Global warming

Fuel prices

Global politics

Hostility to conventional Nuclear Power continues

Interest from Research Councils and individuals

UK interest

UK ADSR Programme


What energy do we need?

Variation with proton energy of:

(i) the neutron multiplicity np

(ii) neutron yield per unit energy of incident proton (np/Ep)

(Calculated using using MCNPX)

The energy gain of an ADSR is directly proportional to np/Ep.

Clearly there is little need for proton energies greater than 1GeV

Taken from Bob Cywinski

UK ADSR Programme

accelerator requirements
Accelerator requirements

Proton Energy ~ 1 GeV

For 1GW thermal power:

  • Need 3 1019 fissions/sec (200 MeV/fission)
  • 6 1017 spallation neutrons/sec (k=0.98 gives 50 fissions/neutron)
  • 3 1016 protons/sec (20 spallation neutrons each)

Current 5 mA. Power = 5 MW

Compare: PSI proton cyclotron:

590 MeV, 72 MeV injection

2mA, 1MW

UK ADSR Programme



Current far too high.

Complicated (ramping magnets)


Energy too high for classical cyclotron. On the edge for other types


Looks like the answer

Similar to proton therapy except higher current and no need for variable energy extraction

Very similar to neutrino factor proton driver


Can do the job. But VERY expensive

UK ADSR Programme

achieving high current
Achieving high current

Frequency must sweep (factor ~2)

Need high duty cycle:

  • Will not achieve cyclotron-like 100% but have to get within an order of magnitude
  • Need to accelerate several pulses at slightly different energies with the same sweeping frequency
  • Need several RF frequency systems (in same cavity or separate cavities)

UK ADSR Programme

  • No long shutdowns – lose money
  • No unplanned shutdowns – lose money and customers
  • Spallation target runs hot. If beam stops, target cools and stresses and cracks: no more than 3 trips per year

Cars and planes achieve this…

UK ADSR Programme

achieving reliability
Achieving reliability
  • Component Underrating
  • Redundancy (e.g. Ion source)
  • Fault Tolerance
  • Scheduled inspection and replacement programme

Has to be integrated into the design

UK ADSR Programme

reliability and rf
Reliability and RF

RF in a linac: Many cavities.

Failure of one does not kill beam.

Just gets slightly less energy

RF in an FFAG: many cavities

Failure of one should not kill beam

Just gets slightly less energy, or takes slightly longer to accelerate

Unless HNJ scheme is used. Probably ruled out

UK ADSR Programme

the ultimate redundancy
The ultimate redundancy

Could have several (3) accelerators for one reactor core

If FFAGs are really as cheap as we’re promising

UK ADSR Programme

uk activities
UK Activities
  • Grouping of interested people (accelerator scientists, reactor engineers, economists..)
  • Held 2 1-day workshops this year
  • Couple of small projects (EPSRC funded) to look at possibilities
  • Increasing funding opportunities anticipated
  • Upcoming 3 day workshop here, next week

UK ADSR Programme


Formation of the Thorium Energy Amplifier Association: Universities and labs and industry

A research consortium aimed at

  • Networking (website, workshops)
  • Sharing knowledge, within and outside UK
  • Collaborative response to funding opportunities
  • Design of a Thorium ADSR, aimed at power generation with transmutation as bonus. FFAG is baseline accelerator

UK ADSR Programme


Things are moving fast.

Two years ago my worry was that no-one wanted to know.

Today my worry is that we’re going to get trampled in the rush.

UK ADSR Programme