Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
9.01: Nuclear Fuel Cycle & Safeguards
Monday, 16/Mar/2020:
3:15pm - 5:00pm

Session Chair: Ayodeji Babatunde Alajo, Missouri University of Science & Technology, United States of America
Location: L-2012

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An Investigation of Back-End Nuclear Fuel Cycle Options for the UAE: Materials Flow and Cost Estimation

Suood Almazrouei, Man Sung Yim

Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

The Barakah Nuclear Power Plant’s first unit is expected to discharge its first batch of spent nuclear fuel in late 2021. As a new comer to the nuclear industry, the UAE is to investigate and analyze different nuclear fuel cycle options to provide information necessary to the decision-making process. Reviewing advanced nuclear fuel cycle pathways around the world and analyzing the UAE’s current situation is a vital aspect of the policy setting process. Based on the literature and economic analyses, this paper focuses on a quantitative comparative analysis of the two possible back-end fuel cycle options: direct disposal and overseas reprocessing. First, the study will calculate the materials requirement of each step in the fuel cycle of a 1400 MWe reactor, utilizing IAEA’s simulation tool called Nuclear Fuel Cycle Simulation System (NFCSS). This analysis includes, the flow of materials based on an equilibrium model that estimates annual waste generation, amount of spent nuclear fuel, cask storage needs, and disposition volumes. The second analysis computes the overall cost associated with each fuel cycle option. Utilizing OCED/NEA unit costs data and other studies analyzing the economics of the nuclear fuel cycle, we can calculate the levelized fuel cycle cost assuming a steady-state flow of materials from one APR-1400 reactor. A sensitivity analysis will address the large variability and uncertainty associated with unit costs. These evaluations elucidate the quantitative differences between the two options. Although fuel cycle comparisons need consideration of aspects such as political constraints, environmental friendliness, and proliferation resistance, this paper focuses only on the materials required and waste generated, and based on that information we can estimate the overall cost for each option; providing a fair comparison.

Calculation studies of uranium fuel production technologies in a fission-fusion hybrid reactor (FFHR) for the formation of a stable nuclear energy system with fusion and fission reactors

Nikita Kovalenko, Elena Andrianova, Andrey Gurin, Ekaterina Rodionova, Stanislav Subbotin, Tatyana Shchepetina

NRC "Kurchatov Institute"

Due to the fact that most modern reactors operate on enriched uranium in the open fuel cycle and the reserves of low-cost natural uranium are limited, therefore, the nuclear power capacities are limited too. It is almost infinitely possible to increase the resource base by account of introducing U-238 and Th-232.

The existing structure of nuclear power is presented by thermal-neutron reactors. The use of Pu-239, that is obtained from U-238, in such reactors is inefficient due to the high capture neutron cross section. It is better to use Pu-239 in reactors with hard neutron spectrum. However, the designs of modern fast reactors have a sufficiently low breeding ratio, that will not allow fundamentally solving the problem of capacity increase. In addition, the amount of spent nuclear fuel that will have to be reprocessed will increase significantly. This will lead to large contamination of the nuclear fuel cycle.

The possibility of introducing a fission-fusion neutron source to produce of U-233 in thorium blanket are considered in the paper. The advantage of the uranium-thorium cycle compared to the uranium-plutonium cycle is a much smaller accumulation of TRU actinides, and therefore there is no need in complex transmutations process. Requirements for FFHR can change in wide range depending on characteristics of fuel cycle and value of breeding ratio of thermal-neutron reactors. The paper concern some of the requirements to FFHR that can be achieved in the mid-term. The introduction of FFHR will not require significant changes in the structure of nuclear energy. At the same time, the presence of other types of reactors is not excluded.

The reported study was funded by RFBR, project number 19-29-02031.

Multi-objective optimization of two-component nuclear energy systems with thermal and fast reactors in a closed nuclear fuel cycle

Ilya Kuptsov1, Andrey Andrianov1, Olga Andrianova2, Tatyana Osipova1, Tatyana Utyanskaya3

1National Reseach Nuclear University MEPhI; 2JSC “SSC RF-IPPE n.a. A.I. Leypunsky”; 3JSC “Engineering Center of Nuclear Containers"

The paper presents a description and some illustrative results of the application of two optimization models for a two-component nuclear energy system consisting of thermal and fast reactors in a closed nuclear fuel cycle. These models correspond to two possible options of developing Russian nuclear energy system, which are discussed in the expert community: (1) thermal and fast reactors utilizing uranium and mixed oxide fuel, (2) thermal reactors utilizing uranium oxide fuel and fast reactors utilizing mixed nitride uranium-plutonium fuel. The optimization models elaborated using the IAEA MESSAGE energy planning tool make it possible not only to optimize the nuclear energy system structure according to the economic criterion, taking into account resource and infrastructural constraints, but also to be used as a basis for developing multi-objective, stochastic and robust optimization models of a two-component nuclear energy system. These models were elaborated in full compliance with the recommendations of the IAEA’s PESS and INPRO sections, regarding the specification of nuclear energy systems in MESSAGE. The presented results demonstrate the characteristic structural features of a two-component nuclear energy system for conservative assumptions in order to illustrate the capabilities of the developed optimization models. Consideration is also given to the economic feasibility of a technologically diversified nuclear energy structure providing the possibility of forming on its base a robust system in the future. It has been demonstrated that given the current uncertainties in the costs of nuclear fuel cycle services and reactor technologies, it is impossible at the moment to make a reasonable conclusion regarding the greatest attractiveness of a particular option in terms of the economic performance.

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