Date of Award

1-1-2011

Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Department

Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Travis W Knight

Abstract

This research developed a design of an innovative sodium-cooled fast reactor (SFR) for minor actinide (MA) destruction in used nuclear fuel (UNF). The destruction of MAs would reduce the radiotoxicity of the discharged waste to less than 25% of the once-through cycle after 100 years. The design can be achieved within the currently developed technology for reactor and fuel production. Additionally, the reactor design meets all current standards for safe operation and would provide additional electrical capacity to the grid becoming a cost-effective source of carbon-free energy production. Advances in nuclear computer codes have allowed for the successful modeling of SFR designs. Three-dimensional codes based on stochastic interaction of particles such as the Monte Carlo Neutron Photon (MCNP) transport code have recently introduced isotope depletion characteristics that allow for the prediction of the burnup of materials within the reactor core over time. Additionally, deterministic codes such as the European Reactor Analysis Optimization calculation System (ERANOS) have been developed to handle complex fast reactor designs based off of data derived from the Super Phénix operation. The combination of various new SFR designs and updated depletion modeling codes provided the resources for the development of innovative used fuel actinide management in a sodium-cooled fast reactor.

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