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The Spallator and APEX Nuclear Fuel Cycle a New Option for Nuclear Power

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1 Author(s)
Steinberg, M. ; Department of Nuclear Engineering Brookhaven National Laboratory Upton, L.I., New York 11973

A new nuclear fuel cycle is described which provides a long term supply of nuclear fuel for the thermal LWR nuclear power reactors and eliminates the need for long-term storage of radioactive waste. Fissile fuel is produced by the Spallator which depends on the production of spallation neutrons by the interaction of high energy (1 to 2 GeV) protons on a heavy metal target. The neutrons are absorbed in a surrounding natural uranium or thorium blanket in which fissile Pu-239 or U-233 is produced. Advances in linear accelerator technology makes it possible to design and construct a high beam current continuous wave proton linac for production purposes. The target is similar to a sub-critical reactor and produces heat which is converted to electricity for supplying the linac. The Spallator is a self-sufficient fuel producer, which can compete with the fast breeder. The APEX fuel cycle depends on recycling the transuranics and long-lived fission products while extracting the stable and short-lived fission products when reprocessing the fuel. Transmutation and decay within the fuel cycle and decay of the short-lived fission products external to the fuel cycle eliminates the need for long-term geological age storage of fission product waste.

Published in:

Nuclear Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:30 ,  Issue: 1 )

Date of Publication:

Feb. 1983

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