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Reduction of Weapon Grade Plutonium Inventories in a Thorium Burner

Sümer Sahin, Haci Mehmet Sahin, Adem Acir

Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 61 / Number 1T / January 2012 / Pages 250-255

Fusion-Fission Hybrids and Transmutation / Proceedings of the Fifteenth International Conference on Emerging Nuclear Energy Systems /

Large quantities of weapon grade (WG) plutonium have been accumulated in the nuclear warheads. Plutonium and heavy water moderator can give a good combination with respect to neutron economy. TRISO type fuel can withstand very high fuel burn up levels. The paper investigates the prospects of utilization of TRISO fuel made of WG-plutonium in CANDU reactors. Three different fuel compositions have been investigated: 1: 90 % ThC + 10 % PuC, 2: 70 % ThC + 30 % PuC and 3: 50 % ThC + 50 % PuC. The temporal variation of the criticality k and the burn-up values of the reactor have been calculated by full power operation up to 17 years. Calculated startup criticalities for these fuel modes are k,0 = 1.6403, 1.7228, 1.7662, respectively. Attainable burn up values and reactor operation times with the same fuel charge will be 94 700, 265 000, 425 000 MW.D/MT and ~ 3.5, 10, 17 years, respectively. These high burn ups would reduce fuel fabrication costs and nuclear waste mass for final disposal per unit energy drastically.

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