PWR waste inventory management is considered in many countries including Frances as one of the main current issues. On this subject, the French 1991 Bataille’s law set up a 15 years research program on three main axes: sub-surface storage, deep geological storage, transmutation using critical or subcritical burners. Amongst the output Actinides, Pu and Am are the 2 main contents both in term of volume and long term radio-toxicity. Waiting for the Generation IV systems implementation (2035–2050), one of the mid-term solutions for their transmutation involves the use of advanced fuels in Pressurized Water Reactors (PWR). These have to require as little modification as possible of the core internals, the cooling system and fuel cycle facilities (fabrication and reprocessing). The present paper is focussed on the reactor physics characteristics, as a preliminary step in the evaluation of options, knowing that others homogeneous and heterogeneous assemblies have been studied by the CEA ( to ). The main neutronic parameters to be considered for Pu and Am recycling in PWR are void coefficient (αvoid), Doppler coefficient (αDopp), fraction of delayed neutrons (β) and power distribution (especially for heterogeneous configurations). The modification of the moderation ratio, the opportunity to use inert matrices (targets), the optimisation of Uranium, Plutonium and Americium contents are the key parameters to play with. One of the solutions presented here is a heterogeneous assembly with regular moderation ratio composed with both target fuel rods (Pu and Am embedded in an inert matrix) and standard UO2 fuel rods. An EPR (European Pressurised Reactor) type reactor, loaded only with assemblies containing 84 peripheral targets, can reach an Americium consumption rate of [4.4; 23 kg/TWhe] depending on the assembly concept. For Pu and Am inventories stabilisation, the theoretical fraction of reactors loaded with Pu + Am or Pu assemblies is about 60%. For Americium inventory stabilisation, the fraction decreases down to 16%, but Pu is produced at a rate of 18.5 Kg/Twhe (−25% compared to one through UOX cycle).
- Nuclear Engineering Division
Physics of Plutonium and Americium Recycling in PWR Using Advanced Fuel Concepts
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Hourcade, E. "Physics of Plutonium and Americium Recycling in PWR Using Advanced Fuel Concepts." 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. 897-904. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/ICONE12-49604
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