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Metz on Harold Denton: Memories of a life in nuclear safety
A number of years ago, historian and writer Chuck Metz Jr. was at the Bush’s Visitor Center in Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains when he ran into former Nuclear Regulatory Commission official Harold Denton and his wife. Metz was at the visitor center, which opened in 2010 and is now a tourist hotspot, because, as he explained to the Dentons at the time, he had overseen the development of its on-site museum and had written a companion coffee-table history book.
The chance meeting turned into a friendship and a fruitful collaboration. Denton, who in 1979 was the public spokesperson for the NRC as the Three Mile Island-2 accident unfolded, had been working on his memoir, but he was stuck. He asked Metz for help with the organization and compilation of his notes. “I was about to retire,” Metz said, “but I thought that exploring the nuclear world might be an interesting change of pace.”
Denton passed away in 2017, but by then Metz had spent many hours with his fast friend and was able to complete the memoir, Three Mile Island and Beyond: Memories of a Life in Nuclear Safety, which was published recently by ANS. Metz shared some of his thoughts about Denton and the book with Nuclear News. The interview was conducted by NN’s David Strutz.
Zoltán Perkó, Jan Leen Kloosterman, Sándor Fehér
Nuclear Technology | Volume 177 | Number 1 | January 2012 | Pages 83-97
Technical Paper | Fuel Cycle and Management | dx.doi.org/10.13182/NT12-A13329
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
Within the Generation IV initiative, the gas-cooled fast reactor (GFR) is one of the reactors dedicated to minor actinide (MA) transmutation. This paper summarizes the research performed with the GFR600 reference design in order to assess its MA burning capabilities. For the study, modules of the SCALE program system were used.Single-cycle parametric studies were performed with cores having different MA content and spatial distribution. It was shown that the addition of MAs to the fuel greatly reduced the reactivity loss during burnup. Moreover, the higher the MA content of the core, the higher the fraction of it that was fissioned; however, the more the delayed neutron fraction and the fuel temperature coefficient degraded. Significant reduction can be achieved in the amounts of neptunium and americium, while curium isotopes accumulate.The study of multiple consecutive cycles showed that by adding only depleted uranium (DU) to the reprocessed actinides in fuel fabrication (pure DU feed strategy), up to 70% of the initially loaded MAs can be fissioned in the first five cycles. Moreover, the reactor can be made critical during that time if the initial MA content is higher than 3%. By feeding MAs as well (constant MA content strategy), the reactivity has a steady increase from cycle to cycle, predominantly due to 238Pu breeding from 237Np.The effects of the isotopic composition of the plutonium and MAs were also examined by performing calculations with data specific to the spent fuel of traditional western pressure water reactors and Russian type VVER440 reactors. Despite the considerably different MA vectors, no significant deviation was found in their overall transmutation. However, the Pu composition had a strong effect on the reactivity and the delayed neutron fraction in the first cycles.Finally, cores having nonuniform MA content were investigated. It was found that though the MA destruction efficiency was significantly higher in the middle of the core than at the edge, moving some of the MAs from the outer regions to the center resulted in only minor improvement in their destruction. However, the spectral changes caused by the rearrangement increased the k-effective, which allowed higher burnups and increased MA destruction. Unfortunately, some of the safety parameters of the reactor degraded.