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Assessment of Homogeneous Thorium/Uranium Fuel for Pressurized Water Reactors

Alexander Galperin, Eugene Shwageraus, Michael Todosow

Nuclear Technology

Volume 138 / Number 2 / May 2002 / Pages 111-122


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The homogeneous ThO2-UO2 fuel cycle option for a pressurized water reactor (PWR) of current technology is investigated. The fuel cycle assessment was carried out by calculating the main performance parameters: natural uranium and separative work requirements, fuel cycle cost, and proliferation potential of the spent fuel. These performance parameters were compared with a corresponding slightly enriched (all-U) fuel cycle applied to a PWR of current technology. The main conclusion derived from this comparison is that fuel cycle requirements and fuel cycle cost for the mixed Th/U fuel are higher in comparison with those of the all-U fuel. A comparison and analysis of the quantity and isotopic composition of discharged Pu indicate that the Th/U fuel cycle provides only a moderate improvement of the proliferation resistance. Thus, the overall conclusion of the investigation is that there is no economic justification to introduce Th into a light water reactor fuel cycle as a homogeneous ThO2-UO2 mixture.

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