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Isotopes & Radiation
Members are devoted to applying nuclear science and engineering technologies involving isotopes, radiation applications, and associated equipment in scientific research, development, and industrial processes. Their interests lie primarily in education, industrial uses, biology, medicine, and health physics. Division committees include Analytical Applications of Isotopes and Radiation, Biology and Medicine, Radiation Applications, Radiation Sources and Detection, and Thermal Power Sources.
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Newest Russian icebreaker ready to hit the ice
The Arktika, Russia’s latest nuclear-powered icebreaker, sailed from the Baltic Shipyard in St. Petersburg last week, bound for the Murmansk seaport. The voyage is scheduled to take approximately two weeks, during which time the vessel will be tested “in ice conditions,” according to Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned atomic energy corporation.
Timothée Kooyman, Laurent Buiron, Gérald Rimpault
Nuclear Science and Engineering | Volume 185 | Number 2 | February 2017 | Pages 335-350
Technical Paper | dx.doi.org/10.1080/00295639.2016.1272381
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
A methodology dedicated to the optimization of the transmutation of minor actinides (MAs) in dedicated blankets is discussed here. This methodology relies on recently developed optimization tools. In the so-called heterogeneous transmutation approach, MAs are loaded into specific assemblies located at the periphery of a fast reactor core. Thus, the resulting perturbation of the core behavior is limited and the management of MAs is entirely decoupled from standard fuel management. This also allows greater flexibility in the blanket design, in terms of material, volume fraction, and neutron spectrum to be used. On the other hand, the low neutron flux level experienced at the periphery of the core slows down the transmutation process. If this effect can be compensated for by an increase of the MA fraction loaded in the blankets, this also strongly increases their decay heat and neutron source level, which complicates spent fuel reprocessing and handling. An optimization is carried out with regard to the neutron spectrum and americium concentration in the blankets, with the dual objective of maximizing the transmuted MA mass while minimizing the total MA inventory in the fuel cycle by limiting the cooling time of such blankets. Artificial neural networks are coupled with a genetic algorithm to reduce the total calculation time. It is shown here that regardless of the MA mass to be loaded, a slightly moderated neutron spectrum is the most promising option for heterogeneous transmutation. This result is confirmed by full-core calculations. An analysis of the irradiation time is also performed, and it is shown that maximization of the irradiation time should be sought in the specific case studied here. It is concluded that from a purely physical point of view, no breakthrough can be obtained for heterogeneous transmutation.