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Nuclear Science and Engineering
Fusion Science and Technology
When a nuclear plant closes
Theresa Knickerbocker, the mayor of the village of Buchanan, N.Y., where the Indian Point nuclear power plant is located, is not happy. What has gotten Ms. Knickerbocker’s ire up is the fact that Indian Point’s Unit 2 was closed on April 30, and Unit 3 is scheduled to close in 2021. The village, population 2,300, is about 1.3 square miles total, with the Indian Point site comprising 240 acres along the Hudson River, 30 miles upstream of Manhattan. Unit 2 was a 1,028-MWe pressurized water reactor; Unit 3 is a 1,041-MWe PWR.
The nuclear plant provides the revenue for half of Buchanan’s annual $6-million budget, Knickerbocker told Nuclear News. That’s $3 million in tax revenues each year that eventually will go away. How will that revenue be replaced? Where will the replacement power come from?
Gilles J. Youinou
Nuclear Technology | Volume 198 | Number 2 | May 2017 | Pages 202-216
Technical Paper | dx.doi.org/10.1080/00295450.2017.1305191
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
This paper presents the results of a neutronics analysis related to the homogeneous recycling of different mixtures of transuranic elements (transuranics) (TRU) in pressurized water reactors (PWRs) loaded with mixed oxide (MOX) fuel using enriched uranium instead of depleted uranium (UenrO2-TRUO2, i.e., MOX-EU). It also addresses an often, if not always, overlooked aspect related to the recycling of TRU in PWRs, namely, the use of reprocessed uranium. From a neutronics point of view, it is possible to multirecycle the entirety of the plutonium with or without neptunium and americium in a PWR fleet using MOX-EU fuel in between one-third and two-thirds of the fleet. Recycling neptunium and americium with plutonium significantly decreases the decay heat of the waste stream between 100 to 1000 years compared to that of an open fuel cycle or when only plutonium is recycled. The uranium present in MOX-EU used fuel still contains a significant amount of 235U, and recycling it makes a major difference in the natural uranium needs. For example, at equilibrium, a PWR fleet recycling its plutonium, neptunium, and americium in MOX-EU needs 28% more natural uranium than a reference UO2 open cycle fleet generating the same energy if the reprocessed uranium is not recycled and 19% less if the reprocessed uranium is recycled back in the reactors, i.e., a 47% difference. Reenriching the reprocessed uranium is not necessary.