A design concept and characteristics for an epithermal breeder controlled by variable feedback and external neutron source intensity are presented. By replacing the control rods with neutron sources, we could maintain good power distribution and perform radioactive waste burning in high flux subcritical reactors (HFSR) that have primary system size, power density and cost comparable to a pressurized water reactor (PWR). Another approach for actinide transmutation is a molten salt subcritical reactor proposed by Russian scientists. To increase neutron source intensity the HFSR is divided into two zones: a booster and a blanket with solid and liquid fuels. A neutron gate (absorber and moderator) imposed between two zones permits fast neutrons from the booster to flow to the blanket. Neutrons moving in the reverse direction are moderated and absorbed in the absorber zone. In the HFSR, neptunium-plutonium fuel is circulated in the booster and blanket, and americium-curium in the absorber zone and outer reflector. Use of a liquid actinide fuel permits transport of the delayed-neutron emitters from the blanket to the booster, where they can provide additional neutrons (source-dominated mode) or all the necessary excitation without an external neutron source (self-amplifying mode). With a blanket neutron multiplication gain of 20 and a booster gain of 50, an external neutron source rate of at least 1015 n/s (0.7MW D-T or 2.5MW electron beam power) is needed to control the HFSR that produces 300MWt. Most of the power could be generated in the blanket that burns about 100 kg of actinides a year. The analysis takes into consideration a wide range of HFSR design aspects including the wave model of observed relativistic phenomena, plant seismic diagnostics, fission electric cells (FEC) with a multistage collector (anode) and layered cathode.
- Nuclear Engineering Division
A Neutron Amplifier: Prospects for Reactor-Based Waste Transmutation
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Blanovsky, A. "A Neutron Amplifier: Prospects for Reactor-Based Waste Transmutation." Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering. 12th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering, Volume 1. Arlington, Virginia, USA. April 25–29, 2004. pp. 447-455. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/ICONE12-49346
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