Fast subcritical hybrid reactors for energy production: evolution of physical parameters and induced radiotoxicities
Abstract
We have performed detailed Monte Carlo simulations of different subcritical fast hybrid reactor fuel configurations leading to the possible use of these devices as energy generators. The method is based on the coupling between a validated neutron transport code and a mathematical solution of the equations describing the time evolution of the neutron spectrum and mean crosssection during the reactor operation. We have optimized the geometrical and operational characteristics of reactors based on ^{232}Th/ ^{233}U and ^{nat}U/Pu oxide fuels and simulated their operation over 20 fuel cycles (200 years of energy generation). Quantitative results are presented for the inventories, waste production and induced radiotoxicities under alternative scenarios of fuel reprocessing. The possible paths to start a fuel cycle based on thorium are studied, identifying the use of highly enriched uranium or plutonium from PWR spent fuel as options to start a fuel cycle which tends asymptotically towards ^{232}Th/ ^{233}U. The comparison between the simulated hybrid systems and the existing PWR reactors indicate significant reductions of the total radiotoxicity for fuel cycles based on thorium and fuel reprocessing which include the minor actinides, as well as plutonium and uranium separation.
 Publication:

Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research A
 Pub Date:
 April 2000
 DOI:
 10.1016/S01689002(99)011638
 Bibcode:
 2000NIMPA.443..510D