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Fusion Reactor for Waste Transmutation


Feasibility Study of the Blanket and Fusion Reactor Concept for Transmutation of Minor Actinides and Plutonium

Tech Area / Field

  • FUS-HSF/Hybrid Systems and Fuel Cycle/Fusion

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Tocheny L V

Leading Institute
Kurchatov Research Center, Russia, Moscow

Project summary

The utilization of nuclear power wastes is an actual problem for all countries having nuclear reactors. The main radiation hazard consists in a spent nuclear fuel, to which the main attention at solving the problem of radioactive wastes is attracted. The possible ways of its solution are determined by the accepted concept of a nuclear power fuel cycle.

Within the framework of the project the feasibility study of a fusion reactor blanket concept for transmutation (burning by nuclear fission) of plutonium and minor actinides (Np, Am, Cm), extracted from spent fuel of LWR reactors, and transmutation of weapon plutonium will be carried out. The last problem is actual from the point of view of weapon plutonium non-proliferation and safe elimination of its excesses. The blanket should solve the indicated problem, ensure reproduction of tritium for maintaining D-T reaction in plasma and produce a low- and high-potential heat.

In the project will be conducted:

1. neutronics analysis of blanket and optimization of its main characteristics, choice of the blanket variant for further development;
2. analysis of key parameters of the fusion reactor with a selected type of blanket, including aspects of nuclear safety;
3. analysis of nuclear power radiation balance with account of plutonium and minor actinides (MA) transmutation in the developed fusion reactor concept.

The design concepts of a blanket will be developed basing on the following starting principles:

– Keff = 0.9 - 0.98, TBR = 1.05;
– Fuel elements: rods or balls;
– The fuel elements with actinides do not contain uranium or thorium in a starting composition. The starting composition of actinides (plutonium, neptunium, americium and curium) corresponds to spent fuel of reactors like LWR or to weapon plutonium;
– The coolant: water or lead-bismuth or lithium;
– The specific heat generation rate should not exceed values, typical for fission reactors;
– Type of fuel reload - periodic;
– As a prototype for analysis of key parameters and nuclear safety of the fusion reactor the variant of ITER with a power of 500 MW is accepted.

An equilibrium nuclide content of actinides in spent fuel in dependence on blanket neutron spectrum will be determined. It is proposed to consider two schemes of fuel recycling:

1. after each exposure cycle the actinides are separated from fission products before the next exposure;
2. after each exposure cycle the actinides are separated from fission products and before the next exposure the amount of actinides (plutonium or mixture of plutonium and MA) of a starting structure is added to them equal by a mass.

On a basis of obtained equilibrium actinide composition the balance of potential biological hazard of two variants of nuclear power - not containing and containing the fusion reactor for transmutation of actinides will be settled up. The effect of transmutation and the number of thermal reactors (type VVEK or PWR), from which the proposed fusion reactor will be able to transmute plutonium and actinides, will be determined.


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