The future expansion of nuclear energy, a technology identified as one of the main candidates for reducing the world's dependence on fossil fuels, requires a thorough analysis of the sustainability of this energy source for long-term supply. Generation-IV nuclear systems could represent a turning point for energy production by minimizing the environmental footprint of the fuel cycle. A new paradigm is thus required for reactor design, focusing, at the core design level, on both the closure of the fuel cycle and the effective utilization of natural resources. Within this framework, the so-called 'adiabatic core' concept represents a particularly interesting solution. It is based on the idea of achieving by design a condition of equilibrium in the fuel cycle (i.e., an equilibrium 'fuel vector'), foreseeing nuclear power systems able to maintain a constant total amount of both plutonium and minor actinides (TRU), consuming only uranium (either natural or depleted), while discharging to the environment only fission products and reprocessing losses. Under such a hypothesis, all actinides can be continuously recycled in the same system, reducing both the waste volume and its long-term radiotoxicity, as well as utilizing effectively uranium resources. Two mathematical approaches have been devised to find the 'extended' equilibrium solution for the fuel vector. These methods are compared, validated with the codes MCNPX and FISPACT and applied to the European lead-cooled fast reactor ELSY, confirming the potential of this approach (e.g., a reduction by two orders of magnitude of the TRU mass in the final waste in comparison with the fuel cycle of Light Water Reactors operated in a once-through scenario).
|Titolo:||A new paradigm for core design aimed at the sustainability of nuclear energy: The solution of the extended equilibrium state|
|Data di pubblicazione:||31-mag-2010|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||5.2 Documento in Garanzia della Qualità|