The feasibility of a conventional PWR fuel cycle with complete recycling of TRU elements in the same reactor is investigated. A new Combined Non-fertile and Uranium (CONFU) fuel assembly where about 20% of the uranium fuel pins are replaced with fertile free fuel (FFF) hosting TRU generated in the previous cycle is proposed. In this sustainable fuel cycle based on the CONFU fuel assembly concept, the amount and radiotoxicity of the nuclear waste can be significantly reduced in comparison with the conventional once-through UO 2 fuel cycle. It is shown that under the constraints of acceptable power peaking limits, the CONFU assembly exhibits negative reactivity feedback coefficients comparable in values to those of the reference UO2 fuel. Moreover, the effective delayed neutron fraction is about the same as for UO2-fueled cores. Therefore, feasibility of the PWR core operation and control with complete TRU recycle has been shown in principle. However, gradual build up of small amounts of Cm and Cf challenges fuel reprocessing and fabrication due to the high spontaneous fissions rates of these nuclides and heat generation by some Pu, Am, and Cm isotopes. Feasibility of the processing steps becomes more attainable if the time between discharge and reprocessing is 20 years or longer. The implications for the entire fuel cycle will have to be addressed in future studies.
|State||Published - 1 Jan 2003|
|Event||2nd International Congress on Advances in Nuclear Power Plants, ICAPP 2003 - Cordoba, Spain|
Duration: 4 May 2003 → 7 May 2003
|Conference||2nd International Congress on Advances in Nuclear Power Plants, ICAPP 2003|
|Period||4/05/03 → 7/05/03|