Date of Award

1-1-2009

Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Department

Nuclear Engineering

First Advisor

Travis W. Knight

Abstract

A model is provided to determine the amounts of various fuel streams required to supply energy from planned and projected nuclear plant operations, including new builds. Flexible, user-defined scenarios can be constructed with respect to energy requirements, choices of reactors and choices of fuels. The model includes interactive effects and extends through 2099. Outputs include energy provided by reactors, the number of reactors, and masses of natural Uranium and other fuels used.

Energy demand, including electricity and hydrogen, is obtained from US DOE historical data and projections, along with other studies of potential hydrogen demand. An option to include other energy demand to nuclear power is included. Reactor types modeled include (thermal reactors) PWRs, BWRs and MHRs and (fast reactors) GFRs and SFRs. The MHRs (VHTRs), GFRs and SFRs are similar to those described in the 2002 DOE "Roadmap for Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems." Fuel source choices include natural Uranium, self-recycled spent fuel, Plutonium from breeder reactors and existing stockpiles of surplus HEU, military Plutonium, LWR spent fuel and depleted Uranium. Other reactors and fuel sources can be added to the model.

Fidelity checks of the model's results indicate good agreement with historical Uranium use and number of reactors, and with DOE projections. The model supports conclusions that substantial use of natural Uranium will likely continue to the end of the 21st century, though legacy spent fuel and depleted uranium could easily supply all nuclear energy demand by shifting to predominant use of fast reactors.

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