Nuclear Technology / Volume 172 / Number 2 / November 2010 / Pages 157-178
Technical Paper / Fuel Cycle and Management
The nuclear fuel cycle consists of a set of complex components that are intended to work together. To support the nuclear renaissance, it is necessary to understand the impacts of changes and timing of events in any part of the fuel cycle system such as how the system would respond to each technological change, a series of which moves the fuel cycle from where it is to a postulated future state. The system analysis working group of the United States research program on advanced fuel cycles (formerly called the Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative) is developing a dynamic simulation model, VISION, to capture the relationships, timing, and changes in and among the fuel cycle components to help develop an understanding of how the overall fuel cycle works. This paper is an overview of the philosophy and development strategy behind VISION. The paper includes some descriptions of the model components and some examples of how to use VISION. For example, VISION users can now change yearly the selection of separation or reactor technologies, the performance characteristics of those technologies, and/or the routing of material among separation and reactor types - with the model still operating on a PC in <5 min.