The development of accelerator-driven systems (ADSs) is motivated by the potential of these machines to reduce the volume and the radiotoxicity of accumulated nuclear waste, more particularly that of minor actinides currently generated by the operation of existing pressurized water reactors. The reduction of both volume and radiotoxicity of nuclear waste is achieved by transmutation and fission of minor actinides into less-active isotopes or shorter-lived by-products.

Various technical challenges exist regarding designing reliable and efficient ADSs. The key points are very much linked to the design of the spallation module, the assurance that reactivity remains below criticality under any circumstances, and the accelerator reliability.

This paper addresses the latter two challenges imposed on the accelerator in order to assure safe and reliable ADS operation. It discusses the possibility of performing online absolute reactivity measurements and the limits in the number of allowable accelerator beam trips, which might impede plant integrity and/or plant efficiency.