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Achieving Resource Sustainability in China Through the Thorium Fuel Cycle in the Candu Reactor

[+] Author Affiliations
Peter G. Boczar, Bronwyn Hyland

Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, Chalk River, ON, Canada

Keith Bradley, Sermet Kuran

Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, Mississauga, ON, Canada

Paper No. ICONE18-29664, pp. 119-122; 4 pages
doi:10.1115/ICONE18-29664
From:
  • 18th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering
  • 18th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering: Volume 6
  • Xi’an, China, May 17–21, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4934-7
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME

abstract

The CANDU® reactor is the most resource-efficient reactor commercially available. The features that enable the CANDU reactor to utilize natural uranium facilitate the use of a wide variety of thorium fuel cycles. In the short term, the initial fissile material would be provided in a “mixed bundle”, in which low-enriched uranium (LEU) would comprise the outer two rings of a CANFLEX® bundle, with ThO2 in the central 8 elements. This cycle is economical, both in terms of fuel utilization and fuel cycle costs. The medium term strategy would be defined by the availability of plutonium and recovered uranium from reprocessed used LWR fuel. The plutonium could be used in Pu/Th bundles in the CANDU reactor, further increasing the energy derived from the thorium. Recovered uranium could also be effectively utilized in CANDU reactors. In the long term, the full energy potential from thorium could be realized through the recycle of the U-233 (and thorium) in the used CANDU fuel. Plutonium would only be required to top up the fissile content to achieve the desired burnup. Further improvements to the CANDU neutron economy could make possible a very close approach to the Self-Sufficient Equilibrium Thorium (SSET) cycle with a conversion ratio of unity, which would be completely self-sufficient in fissile material (recycled U-233).

Copyright © 2010 by ASME

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