Nuclear Technology / Volume 148 / Number 3 / December 2004 / Pages 244-258
Technical Paper / Fuel Cycle and Management
For many years various countries with access to commercial reprocessing services have been routinely recycling plutonium as UO2/PuO2 mixed oxide (MOX) fuel in light water reactors (LWRs). This LWR MOX recycle strategy is still widely regarded as an interim step leading to the eventual establishment of sustainable fast reactor fuel cycles. The OECD/NEA Working Party on the Physics of Plutonium Fuels and Innovative Fuel Cycles (WPPR) has recently completed a review of the technical options for plutonium management in what it refers to as the "medium term." For the purpose of the review, the WPPR considers the medium term to cover the period from now up to the point at which fast reactor fuel cycles are established on a commercial scale. The review identified a number of different designs of innovative plutonium fuel assemblies intended to be used in current LWR cores, in LWRs with significantly different moderation properties, as well as in high-temperature gas reactors. The full review report describes these various options and highlights their respective advantages and disadvantages. This paper briefly summarizes the main findings of the review.