Title: 3.4. Research and Development of Thorium in Nuclear Fuel -European Commission
Authors: TSIGE-TAMIRAT Haileyesus
Publisher: IAEA
Publication Year: 2012
JRC N°: JRC72392
ISBN: 978-92-0-125910-3
ISSN: 1995-7807
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC72392
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Thorium fuel cycles (ThFCs) have been investigated with varying intensity for many different reactor types in the past.This was motivated by the vast abundance of thorium and its ability to be used as a fertile material in most reactor types. Thorium oxide fuel possesses favorable neutronic, thermal and chemical properties that could enable higher fuel utilization, lower minor actinide production, and improved proliferation resistance. Past studies in the European Union indicated that ThFCs are, in general, comparable to the conventional uranium–plutonium fuel cycle from the standpoint of overall technical feasibility in current commercial PWRs. The use of thorium fuel in a current PWR with a once-through fuel cycle remains an attractive option due to potential advantages, such high conversion ratio in connection with extended burnup and low initial fissile material inventory. Furthermore, ThFCs could have the potential to improve waste generation issues, operational safety, economics, and proliferation resistance. The practical implementation of ThFCs requires significant research and development to meet the challenges needed to achieve high burnup for efficient fuel use, economic fuel fabrication and reprocessing, core design and fuel cycle optimization for improved safety and economics. This study presents results of neutronic assessments of the use of thorium fuel in current PWR without modification of core and assembly characteristics performed within the current INPRO ThFC study. The assessments are based on a French 3400 MW(th) PWR assuming a once-through fuel cycle for the initial core. Four thorium fuel types were considered and compared with the standard UO2 fuel.
JRC Directorate:Energy, Transport and Climate

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