Sustainable thorium nuclear fuel cycles: A comparison of intermediate and fast neutron spectrum systems

N. R. Brown, J. J. Powers, B. Feng, F. Heidet, N. E. Stauff, G. Zhang, M. Todosow, A. Worrall, J. C. Gehin, T. K. Kim, T. A. Taiwo

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    19 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This paper presents analyses of possible reactor representations of a nuclear fuel cycle with continuous recycling of thorium and produced uranium (mostly U-233) with thorium-only feed. The analysis was performed in the context of a U.S. Department of Energy effort to develop a compendium of informative nuclear fuel cycle performance data. The objective of this paper is to determine whether intermediate spectrum systems, having a majority of fission events occurring with incident neutron energies between 1 eV and 105 eV, perform as well as fast spectrum systems in this fuel cycle. The intermediate spectrum options analyzed include tight lattice heavy or light water-cooled reactors, continuously refueled molten salt reactors, and a sodium-cooled reactor with hydride fuel. All options were modeled in reactor physics codes to calculate their lattice physics, spectrum characteristics, and fuel compositions over time. Based on these results, detailed metrics were calculated to compare the fuel cycle performance. These metrics include waste management and resource utilization, and are binned to accommodate uncertainties. The performance of the intermediate systems for this self-sustaining thorium fuel cycle was similar to a representative fast spectrum system. However, the number of fission neutrons emitted per neutron absorbed limits performance in intermediate spectrum systems.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)252-265
    Number of pages14
    JournalNuclear Engineering and Design
    Volume289
    DOIs
    StatePublished - May 28 2015

    Fingerprint

    Thorium
    nuclear fuels
    neutron spectra
    thorium
    Nuclear fuels
    fast neutrons
    Neutrons
    neutrons
    cycles
    reactors
    Physics
    fission
    Water cooled reactors
    physics
    water cooled reactors
    reactor physics
    Uranium
    waste management
    light water
    Waste management

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
    • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
    • Materials Science(all)
    • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
    • Waste Management and Disposal
    • Mechanical Engineering

    Cite this

    Brown, N. R., Powers, J. J., Feng, B., Heidet, F., Stauff, N. E., Zhang, G., ... Taiwo, T. A. (2015). Sustainable thorium nuclear fuel cycles: A comparison of intermediate and fast neutron spectrum systems. Nuclear Engineering and Design, 289, 252-265. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nucengdes.2015.04.015
    Brown, N. R. ; Powers, J. J. ; Feng, B. ; Heidet, F. ; Stauff, N. E. ; Zhang, G. ; Todosow, M. ; Worrall, A. ; Gehin, J. C. ; Kim, T. K. ; Taiwo, T. A. / Sustainable thorium nuclear fuel cycles : A comparison of intermediate and fast neutron spectrum systems. In: Nuclear Engineering and Design. 2015 ; Vol. 289. pp. 252-265.
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    Brown, NR, Powers, JJ, Feng, B, Heidet, F, Stauff, NE, Zhang, G, Todosow, M, Worrall, A, Gehin, JC, Kim, TK & Taiwo, TA 2015, 'Sustainable thorium nuclear fuel cycles: A comparison of intermediate and fast neutron spectrum systems', Nuclear Engineering and Design, vol. 289, pp. 252-265. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nucengdes.2015.04.015

    Sustainable thorium nuclear fuel cycles : A comparison of intermediate and fast neutron spectrum systems. / Brown, N. R.; Powers, J. J.; Feng, B.; Heidet, F.; Stauff, N. E.; Zhang, G.; Todosow, M.; Worrall, A.; Gehin, J. C.; Kim, T. K.; Taiwo, T. A.

    In: Nuclear Engineering and Design, Vol. 289, 28.05.2015, p. 252-265.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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