Title: Comparative Study of Minor Actinide Transmutation in Sodium and Lead-Cooled Fast Reactor Cores
Citation: PROGRESS IN NUCLEAR ENERGY vol. 50 p. 382-388
Publication Year: 2008
JRC N°: JRC43306
ISSN: 0149-1970
URI: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/pnucene
DOI: 10.1016/j.pnucene.2007.11.021
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: This paper shows that lead-cooled and sodium-cooled fast reactors (LFRs and SFRs) can preferentially consume minor actinides without burning plutonium, both in homogeneous and in heterogeneous mode. The former approach consists of admixing about 5% of minor actinides (MAs) into uranium-plutonium fuels in the core and using a limited number of thermalising pins consisting of UZrH_1.6. These are needed to keep the negative Doppler feedback larger than the positive coolant reactivity coefficient. Our Monte Carlo burn-up calculations showed that a 600 MWe LFR self-breeder without blankets can burn an average of around 67 kg annually of MAs with a reactivity swing of only about -0.7$ per year. The reactivity swing of a corresponding 600 MWe SFR is more than three times larger due to the poorer breeding and half the critical mass in comparison to the LFR. However, when axial and radial blankets loaded with 10% MAs are added, the SFR burns 25% more MAs (131 kg/yr) and breeds 30% more Pu (150 kg/yr) than an equally sized LFR. When only the blankets are loaded with MAs, the SFR breeds 30% more Pu (198 kg/yr) and still burns about 60 kg a year of MAs. However, in terms of severe accident behaviour, the LFR, with its superior natural coolant circulation and larger heat capacity, has definite advantages.
JRC Directorate:Energy, Transport and Climate

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