This paper investigates the feasibility of a once-through thorium fuel cycle for the novel reactor-design concept named the pressure tube light water reactor with variable moderator control (PTVM LWR). The PTVM LWR operates in a "breed & burn" mode, which makes it an attractive system for utilizing thorium fuel in a once-through mode. The "breed & burn" mode can emphasize the in situ generation as well as incineration of 233U, which are the basic foundations of the once-through thorium fuel cycle. The PTVM LWR concept makes use of a seed-blanket geometry, whereby the core is divided into separated regions of thorium-based fuel channel assemblies (blanket) and low-enriched uranium (LEU) based fuel channel assemblies (seed). A novel fuel in-core management scheme based on two separate fuel flow routes (i.e., seed route and blanket route) is proposed and analyzed. Neutronic performance analysis indicates that the proposed novel fuel in-core management scheme has the potential to utilize both LEU- and thorium-based fuel in an efficient manner. The once-through thorium cycle, presented and discussed in this paper, provide interesting research leads and can serve as a bridge between current LEU-based fuel cycles and a thorium fuel cycle based on recycling of 233U.
- "Breed & burn"
- Moderator variation
- Once-through thorium fuel cycle
- Pressure tube reactor
- Seed-blanket geometry
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nuclear Energy and Engineering