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A Preliminary Economic Assessment of Thorium-Based Fuels in a Pressure Tube Heavy Water Reactor

Alberto D. Mendoza EspaƱa, Megan Moore, Ashlea V. Colton, Blair P. Bromley

Nuclear Technology / Volume 202 / Number 1 / April 2018 / Pages 39-52

Technical Paper /

Received:July 21, 2017
Accepted:January 2, 2018
Published:March 16, 2018

The fueling unit energy cost of various thorium-based fuels and uranium-based fuels augmented by small amounts of thorium in a pressure tube heavy water reactor (PT-HWR) are assessed building upon previous studies. The results suggests that fuel concepts using slightly enriched uranium augmented by thorium and thorium mixed with low-enriched uranium can be cost competitive and have the greatest potential for near-term implementation in PT-HWRs. Thorium-based fuels that contain small amounts of recycled plutonium or 233U will require more effort to identify and develop technologies to reduce the costs of reprocessing and fabrication for these fuels. However, as an alternative nuclear fuel for reliable and sustainable low-carbon electrical energy generation, all thorium-based fuels are competitive for both short-term and long-term implementation.

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