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Fission-Suppressed Fusion, Thorium-Cycle Breeder and Nonproliferation

R. W. Moir

Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 61 / Number 1T / Pages 243-249

January 2012

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Fusion reactors can be designed to breed fissile material for startup and makeup fuel for fission reactors while suppressing fissioning, thereby enhancing safety. Each fusion reaction can release about 2.1 times the 14 MeV neutron's energy in the blanket in this fission-suppressed design while producing 0.6 fissile atoms, which is 2660 kg/1000 MW of fusion power for a full power year. The revenues would be doubled from such a plant by selling both fuel at a price of $60/g and electricity at $0.05/kWh for Q=Pfusion/Pinput=4. Fusion reactors could also be designed to destroy fission wastes by fissioning, but this is not a natural use of fusion whereas it is a designed use of fission reactors. Fusion could supply makeup fuel to fission reactors dedicated to fissioning wastes with some of their neutrons. The design for safety and heat removal is already accomplished with fission reactors; however, fusion reactors have geometry that compromises safety with a complex and thin wall separating the fusion zone from the fission blanket zone. Fusion is unique compared to fission in that its high-energy 14 MeV neutron can generate up to 0.05 232Uatoms for each 233U atom produced from thorium, about twice the IAEA standards of “reduced protection” or “self protection.”

 
 
 
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