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Transmutation of All German Transuranium under Nuclear Phase Out Conditions - Is This Feasible from Neutronic Point of View?

Merk B, Litskevich D - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: A basic insight for the optimization of the time duration of the deep burn phase is given.Further on, a detailed balance of different isotopic inventories is given to allow a deeper understanding of the processes during transmutation in the molten salt fast reactor.The effect of modeling and simulation is investigated based on three different modeling strategies and two different code versions.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Resource Ecology, Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden - Rossendorf, Dresden, Germany.

ABSTRACT
The German government has decided for the nuclear phase out, but a decision on a strategy for the management of the highly radioactive waste is not defined yet. Partitioning and Transmutation (P&T) could be considered as a technological option for the management of highly radioactive waste, therefore a wide study has been conducted. In the study group objectives for P&T and the boundary conditions of the phase out have been discussed. The fulfillment of the given objectives is analyzed from neutronics point of view using simulations of a molten salt reactor with fast neutron spectrum. It is shown that the efficient transmutation of all existing transuranium isotopes would be possible from neutronic point of view in a time frame of about 60 years. For this task three reactors of a mostly new technology would have to be developed and a twofold life cycle consisting of a transmuter operation and a deep burn phase would be required. A basic insight for the optimization of the time duration of the deep burn phase is given. Further on, a detailed balance of different isotopic inventories is given to allow a deeper understanding of the processes during transmutation in the molten salt fast reactor. The effect of modeling and simulation is investigated based on three different modeling strategies and two different code versions.

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The specific situation for the application of P&T in Germany in comparison with the international view.
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pone.0145652.g001: The specific situation for the application of P&T in Germany in comparison with the international view.

Mentions: Several scenario studies have been performed in the last decades. Some of them even take the phase-out into consideration. The most prominent ones have been performed in EC-FP5 Red-Impact [21] and EC-FP6 PATEROS [22] under the roof of European framework programs. Additional important contributions have been given by the works of the OECD/NEA in the frame of the Working Party on Scientific Issues of the Fuel Cycle (WPFC)[23], and by the IAEA studies in the INTERNATIONAL PROJECT ON INNOVATIVE NUCLEAR REACTORS AND FUEL CYCLES (INPRO) [24]. However, the conditions of the phase out in Germany define some very special boundary conditions which have not been considered in these studies. The details are given in the schematic view in Fig 1, below. The key point is the perception of the worth of plutonium in Germany. It is no longer seen as a valuable resource it is accounted as waste which would have to be burnt in the case of transmutation. Thus the primary objective of the design of a transmutation facility has to be the efficient burning of the TRUs, the produced energy will only be a by-product and not the main product in contrast to classical fast reactor designs with fertile isotopes in the fuel.


Transmutation of All German Transuranium under Nuclear Phase Out Conditions - Is This Feasible from Neutronic Point of View?

Merk B, Litskevich D - PLoS ONE (2015)

The specific situation for the application of P&T in Germany in comparison with the international view.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4696651&req=5

pone.0145652.g001: The specific situation for the application of P&T in Germany in comparison with the international view.
Mentions: Several scenario studies have been performed in the last decades. Some of them even take the phase-out into consideration. The most prominent ones have been performed in EC-FP5 Red-Impact [21] and EC-FP6 PATEROS [22] under the roof of European framework programs. Additional important contributions have been given by the works of the OECD/NEA in the frame of the Working Party on Scientific Issues of the Fuel Cycle (WPFC)[23], and by the IAEA studies in the INTERNATIONAL PROJECT ON INNOVATIVE NUCLEAR REACTORS AND FUEL CYCLES (INPRO) [24]. However, the conditions of the phase out in Germany define some very special boundary conditions which have not been considered in these studies. The details are given in the schematic view in Fig 1, below. The key point is the perception of the worth of plutonium in Germany. It is no longer seen as a valuable resource it is accounted as waste which would have to be burnt in the case of transmutation. Thus the primary objective of the design of a transmutation facility has to be the efficient burning of the TRUs, the produced energy will only be a by-product and not the main product in contrast to classical fast reactor designs with fertile isotopes in the fuel.

Bottom Line: A basic insight for the optimization of the time duration of the deep burn phase is given.Further on, a detailed balance of different isotopic inventories is given to allow a deeper understanding of the processes during transmutation in the molten salt fast reactor.The effect of modeling and simulation is investigated based on three different modeling strategies and two different code versions.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Resource Ecology, Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden - Rossendorf, Dresden, Germany.

ABSTRACT
The German government has decided for the nuclear phase out, but a decision on a strategy for the management of the highly radioactive waste is not defined yet. Partitioning and Transmutation (P&T) could be considered as a technological option for the management of highly radioactive waste, therefore a wide study has been conducted. In the study group objectives for P&T and the boundary conditions of the phase out have been discussed. The fulfillment of the given objectives is analyzed from neutronics point of view using simulations of a molten salt reactor with fast neutron spectrum. It is shown that the efficient transmutation of all existing transuranium isotopes would be possible from neutronic point of view in a time frame of about 60 years. For this task three reactors of a mostly new technology would have to be developed and a twofold life cycle consisting of a transmuter operation and a deep burn phase would be required. A basic insight for the optimization of the time duration of the deep burn phase is given. Further on, a detailed balance of different isotopic inventories is given to allow a deeper understanding of the processes during transmutation in the molten salt fast reactor. The effect of modeling and simulation is investigated based on three different modeling strategies and two different code versions.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus