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ADSR systems and their contribution to our energy needs. Roger Barlow DIUS visit Manchester, 16 th September 2008. Problem. Fossil Fuels Cause global warming Politically dangerous Becoming less abundant. Solution. Renewable energy? Restrict consumption?? Nuclear power ???.

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adsr systems and their contribution to our energy needs

ADSR systemsand their contribution to our energy needs

Roger Barlow

DIUS visit

Manchester, 16th September 2008


Fossil Fuels

  • Cause global warming
  • Politically dangerous
  • Becoming less abundant

UK ADSR Programme

  • Renewable energy?
  • Restrict consumption??
  • Nuclear power ???

UK ADSR Programme

nuclear power
Nuclear power

Problems (real or perceived)

  • Dangerous
  • Long-term waste disposal
  • Proliferation of nuclear weapons

UK ADSR Programme


Run with k=1

Exactly: k<1 stops

k>1 explosion

Sub Critical

Run with k<1

Use accelerator to supply extra neutrons

Hence: Accelerator Driven Subcritical Reactor (ADSR)


Each fission absorbs 1 neutron and produces ~2.5

Some neutrons lost, leaving k neutrons to produce k fissions

UK ADSR Programme


Spallation Target

“Manifestly Safe”

Switch off accelerator and reaction stops

Energy balance is OK: need 5-10% of power to run accelerator

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. (Like Lead) And spread around

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.

UK ADSR Programme

waste from adsr
Waste from ADSR

Needs storing – but not forever

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

Reliable! Spallation target runs hot. If beam stops, target cools and stresses and cracks: no more than 3 trips per year


PSI cyclotron: 590 MeV, 2mA, 1MW

ISIS synchrotron: 800 MeV, 0.2mA, 0.1 MW

Many trips per day

UK ADSR Programme

accelerator types
Accelerator types


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 machine except higher current and no need for variable energy extraction

Very similar to neutrino factory proton driver


Can do the job. But VERY expensive

UK ADSR Programme

ffag accelerators fixed field alternating gradient
FFAG ACCELERATORSFixed Field Alternating Gradient

All cyclic accelerators use magnetic fields to contain the particles

As the energy increases:


Constant Field

Orbit radius increases


Radius increases slightly

Particles move from low field to high field region


Constant Radius

Field is ramped up

UK ADSR Programme


UK ADSR Programme

emma world s first nsffag
EMMA:World’s firstnsFFAG

First Beam 2009





UK ADSR Programme

a way forward
A way forward

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

Inaugurated here last week

UK ADSR Programme


From the Articles of Association:

  • The Thorium Energy Amplifier Association – hereafter known as ThorEA – is an affiliation of academic institutions, research laboratories, industrial companies, and individual scientists, engineers, technologists and policy specialists who share a common interest in developing thorium as a nuclear fuel in accelerator-driven systems such as the energy amplifier.
  • The overriding purpose of ThorEA is to provide a platform for discussion and a focus for action in thorium fuel and energy amplifier technology and related topics including transmutation.

If you’re interested, see

UK ADSR Programme


ADSRs provide a possible form of Nuclear Power that avoids the problems of

  • Critical accidents
  • Long-lived waste
  • Proliferation

FFAGs may provide the best accelerator technology

We (UK, Particle Physicists, Manchester, Cockcroft Institute) are working hard to make it happen

UK ADSR Programme