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Can Thermal Reactor Recycle Eliminate the Need for Multiple Repositories?. C. W. Forsberg, E. D. Collins, C. W. Alexander, and J. Renier.

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can thermal reactor recycle eliminate the need for multiple repositories

Can Thermal Reactor Recycle Eliminate the Need for Multiple Repositories?

C. W. Forsberg, E. D. Collins,

C. W. Alexander, and J. Renier

Actinide and Fission Product Partitioning and Transmutation: 8th Information Exchange MeetingOECD Nuclear Energy AgencyLas Vegas, Nevada; Nov. 9-11, 2004

The submitted manuscript has been authored by a contractor of the U.S. Government under contract DE-AC05-00OR22725. Accordingly, the U.S. Government retains a nonexclusive, royalty-free license to publish or reproduce the published form of this contribution, or allow others to do so, for U.S. Government purposes. File name: SNF Processing: P-T.Nevada.Nov04

slide2
The Existing Reactor Fleet is Made of LWRs: It Is the Only Near-Term Option for Waste Partitioning and Transmutation (P/T)
  • Economics currently favor LWRs
    • Fast-reactor capital costs are greater than LWRs
    • Uranium prices have remained low because of advances in uranium mining technologies
  • Introduction date for fast reactors is uncertain
  • LWRs imply lower P/T deployment costs, if the technology is viable
there are multiple lwr transmutation strategies
There are Multiple LWR Transmutation Strategies
  • Thermal-neutron reactor transmutation strategies
    • Low-enriched LWR fuels
    • High-enriched uranium driver fuel (demonstrated at SRS and HFIR with the production of Californium)
  • Transmutation with time (irradiation and storage)
    • One such option described herein
basis for ornl decay and lwr irradiate p t strategy

Basis For ORNL Decay and LWR-Irradiate P/T Strategy

Large U. S. inventory of old SNF

Simpler processing of old SNF

Decay of shorter-lived actinides

the u s has a massive existing inventory of snf
The U.S Has A Massive Existing Inventory of SNF
  • Current inventory ~45,000 MTIHM
  • SNF generation rate is ~2000 MTIHM/year
  • If one large reprocessing plant (2000 tons/year) is constructed and the oldest fuel is processed first, the plant will receive 40 to 50 year old SNF on a steady-state basis
processing costs and risks are reduced with old spent nuclear fuel
Processing Costs and Risks are Reduced with Old Spent Nuclear Fuel

2.5

12

10

2.0

Radioactivity

8

1.5

Radioactivity (106 curies/MTIHM)

Decay Heat (kW/MTIHM)

6

1.0

4

Decay Heat

0.5

2

0

0

1

2

5

10

100

Time (years)

  • Decreased heat and radioactivity
  • Requirements for separation are greatly reduced or eliminated for some mobile radionuclides
    • Krypton
    • Tritium
    • Cesium
    • Strontium
storage time is a potentially usable transmutation strategy
Storage (Time) is a Potentially Usable Transmutation Strategy

Long (> 30-year) Decay Period Alters Transmutation Path

Short-cooled SNF transmutation

241Pu 

242Pu

243Am

244mAm

244Cm

T1/2 = 18.1 y

242Pu

17%

Storage transmutation

241Pu

241Am

242Am

70 % fission

T1/2 = 14.36 y

83%

242Cm

238Pu

239Pu

  • Building of heavier isotopes is suppressed and regeneration of fissile isotopes occurs (Reduces LWR thermal P/T penalty)
a store and lwr irradiate p t scenario was evaluated
A Store and LWR-Irradiate P-T Scenario Was Evaluated
  • Only fission products go into the repository
  • Stored Pu in spent fuel (~ 98% of inventory) is protected by high radiation (“Spent Fuel Standard”)
  • Both Pu-Np and Am-Cm inventories reach near equilibrium ─“no net production”
  • Amounts of curium are minimized
  • Separate Am/Cm targets to minimize fabrication difficulties
limited facilities are required for a store and lwr irradiate p t strategy
Limited Facilities Are Required for a Store and LWR-Irradiate P/T Strategy

Existing LWRs→

←SNF dry storage

Reprocessing-fabrication plant→

conclusions
Conclusions
  • LWRs exist
    • Supports examination of thermal reactor P/T strategies
    • Several options available
  • Store and LWR-burn P/T option has several attractive features
    • Stops growth in the actinide inventory
    • One repository required for steady-state operation
    • Minimum investment relative to most other scenarios
    • Only fission products go into the repository
    • Actinide inventory in hot SNF
  • Store and burn P/T option has several constraints
    • Significant inventory of SNF
    • Requires dry storage capacity
    • Exit strategy is complex if no fast reactor
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