Title: Achieving Sustainability in Fuel Cycles with Th-Fuelled Thermal Breeders
Citation: Proceedings of the International Conference on the Physics of Reactors (PHYSOR 2008) p. 1-8
Publisher: Paul Scherrer Institut
Publication Year: 2008
JRC N°: JRC46854
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC46854
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: This paper outlines the path to reach sustainable fuel cycles with Th-fuelled thermal breeder reactors. To achieve a successful synergy between radiotoxic waste transmutation from water cooled reactors and breeding of the new fuel in the Th-233U cycle, fast reactors (FRs) are applied to transmute minor actinides (MAs). It is shown that near-term 233U breeding in PWR and FR cores is feasible. Over 100 kg of 233U could be produced annually in PWR cores with 30% of sub-assemblies containing ThO2, which means that one 850 MWe pressurized heavy water moderated thermal self-breeder could be started every 16 years. A slightly higher figure, over 120 kg/yr of 233U, was obtained when 30% of UO2 pins in each sub-assembly were exchanged for ThO2 pins. Fast reactors employing (Th,TRU)O2 fuel produced up to 370 kg of 233U annually, which means that a new self-breeder could be started roughly every 4.4 years. At the same time, 78 kg of minor actinides are consumed annually. By the end of this century, PWRs and FRs could generate enough 233U to sustain an increase in nuclear power capacities to 1160 GWe, which represents more than a three-fold increase of installed nuclear capacities worldwide. By 2200, the amount of TRUs in the fuel cycle could also be decreased and stabilized.
JRC Directorate:Energy, Transport and Climate

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