In 1998, the research ministers of France, Italy and Spain have decided to set up a group of advisors for the definition of a common R&D European platform on accelerator driven systems (ADS). The advisors in turn, have established a Technical Working Group (TWG), chaired by Professor Carlo Rubbia, and now extended to the most part of the European Union member countries, in order to identify the critical technical issues for which R&D is needed. The recommendations of the TWG, included in the recently issued document 'A European roadmap for developing ADS for nuclear waste incineration' [April 2001] clearly indicate the need to design and operate, approximately in 12-15 years, an XADS at a sufficiently large scale to assess the feasibility of an industrial ADS for transmutation of nuclear waste. The European Community, through the 5th Framework Program, has launched a large program on partitioning and transmutation. This program which includes R&D and preliminary design will constitute a reference for the choice of the technical solutions to be pursued forward during the 6th Framework Program. In Italy, since early 1998, the ENEA (National Research Organization for Innovative Energy), INFN (National Institute for Nuclear Physics), CRS4 (Research Institute) and Ansaldo have set up a team, led by Ansaldo, to design an 80 MWth XADS. The results obtained so far allow a consistent XADS configuration to be outlined. The main issues investigated and the associated solutions adopted are concisely described in the paper.
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