Impact of PWR Spent Fuel Variations on Back-End Features of Advanced Fuel Cycles with Tru-Fueled VHTR


Alternative strategies are being considered as management option for current spent nuclear fuel transuranics (TRU) inventory. Creation of transmutation fuels containing TRU for use in thermal and fast reactors is one of the viable strategies. Utilization of these advanced fuels will result in transmutation and incineration of the TRU. The objective of this study is to analyze the impact of conventional PWR spent fuel variations on TRU-fueled very high temperature reactor (VHTR) systems. The current effort is focused on prismatic core configuration operated under a single batch once-through fuel cycle option. IAEA's nuclear fuel cycle simulation system (VISTA) was used to determine potential PWR spent fuel compositions. Additional composition was determined from the analysis of United States legacy spent fuel that is given in the Yucca Mountain Safety Assessment Report. A detailed whole-core 3-D model of the prismatic VHTR was developed using SCALE5.1 code system. The fuel assembly block model was based on Japan's HTTR fuel block configuration. To establish a reference reactor system, calculations for LEU-fueled VHTR were performed and the results were used as the basis for comparative studies of the TRU-fueled systems. The LEU fuel is uranium oxide at 15% 235U enrichment. The results showed that the single-batch core lifetimes ranged between 5 and 7 years for all TRU fuels (3 years in LEU), providing prolonged operation on a single batch fuel loading. Transmutation efficiencies ranged between 19% and 27% for TRU-based fuels (13% in LEU). Total TRU material contents for disposal ranged between 730 and 808 kg per metric ton of initial heavy metal loading, reducing TRU inventory mass by as much as 27%. Decay heat and source terms of the discharged fuel were also calculated as part of the spent fuel disposal consideration. The results indicated strong potential of TRU-based fuel in VHTR. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Science

Keywords and Phrases

Advanced Fuel; Nuclear Waste Management; Transmutation; VHTR

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Article - Journal

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© 2011 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2011