Transmuting minor actinides with thermal reactor neutrons

УДК 621.039.54(04)

Issue of journal:


The process of closing natural U based nuclear fuel cycle presupposes extracting U
and Pu from spent fuel. Among the remaining heavy nuclei the major contribution of
radioactivity is due to minor actinides. One of the ideas suggested to reduce the
radioactivity of spent fuel is to reradiate minor actinides for a longer period of time,
such process being referred to as transmutation.
Some authors claim the necessity of transmutation in the high energy neutron
spectra. To accomplish this the purpose oriented burner!reactors and accelerator!based
sub critical systems are to be incorporated into nuclear fuel cycle
The particular paper considers feasibility of transmuting minor actinides with thermal
reactor neutrons. Basic factor of transmutation feasibility – ratio of radioactivity levels
with and without transmutation ξ(t) has been used. This ratio in function ξ(t) can be
either more or less 1, the values making major contribution into the feasibility
assessment. Functions ξ(t) for minor actinides have been calculated. The following
conclusions have been made in terms of reducing radioactivity: (a) Ne is not a subject
for transmuting; (b) a relatively small effect has been observed for Cm, its radioactivity
reducing by an order in 500 years; (c) Am reduces its radioactivity from 10 to 100 times
300 years after being reradiated. The authors have shown that the best ξ(t) values are
reached when minor actinides burn!up is up to 70–80%.
In order to come to a conclusion on transmutation feasibility for Am and Cm the
authors suggest that in the scenarios involved the following issues be taken into
account – how risks of their release into the environment differ, how biological
effectiveness differs as well as efficiency of transmuting minor actinides produced by
operating nuclear power and continuously placed into spent fuel storage.

effektivnogo ispol’zovaniya goryuchego v yadernoy energetike s bystrymi reaktorami [The effective use of fuel in nuclear power with fast reactors]. Atomnaya energiya. 1971, vol. 31, no. 4, p. 241.
2. Federal’naja celevaja programma «Yadernye energotehnologii novogo pokolenija na period 20102015 godov i na perspektivu do 2020 goda», utverzhdennaya postanovleniem Pravitel’stva RF 03 fevralya 2010 g. №50. [Federal target program “Nuclear Power New Generation in 20102015 and until 2020] (in Russian).
3. Pigford Т. Actinide Burning and Waste Disposal, Proc. Int. Conf. Next Generation of Nuclear Power Technology, Berkley, University of California, 5 October, UCBNE4176 (1990).
4. Lebedev V.M. Yaderny toplivny cikl. Technologii, bezopasnost’, ekologiya [Nuclear fuel cycle. Teknology, safety, ekology]. Moscow, Energoatomizdat Publ. 2005. (in Russian)
5. Kazansky Yu.A., Dudkin A.N., Klinov D.A. Transmutaciya: moda ili neobhodimost’? [Transmutation: fashion or necessity ?] Izvestiya vuzov. Yadernaya energetika. 1993, no. 1, pp. 65–69.
6. Slessarev I., Salvatores M. The potential of nuclear transmutation: “neutron economics” of critical reactors and hybrids. International Conference on Evaluation of Emerging Nuclear Fuel Cycle Systems. September 1114, 1995, vol. 1, pp. 482488.
7. Kazansky Yu.A., Klinov D.A. Effektivnost’ transmutacii oskolkov deleniya [Efficiency of Fission Products Transmutation]. Izvestiya vuzov. Yadernaya energetika. 2000, no. 4, pp. 3846.
8. Ganev I.H, Orlov V.V., Adamov E.O. Dostizhenie radiacionnoy ekvivalentnosti pri obraschenii s radioaktivnymi othodami yadernoy energetiki [Achieving radiation equivalence for radioactive waste nuclear power]. Atomnaya energiya. 1992, vol. 73, no. 1, pp. 4450.
9. Adamov E.O., Ganev I.H., Lopatkin A.V. Muratov V.G., Orlov V.V. Stepen’ priblizheniya k radiacionnoy ekvivalentnosti vysokoaktivnyh othodov i prirodnogo urana v toplivnom cikle yadernoy energetiki Rossii [The degree of approximation to the radiation equivalence of high level waste and natural uranium fuel cycle nuclear energy in Russia]. Atomnaya energiya. 1996, vol. 81, no. 6, pp. 403409.
10. Adamov E.O., Ganev I.H., Lopatkin A.V. Muratov V.G., Orlov V.V. Transmutacionny toplivny cikl v krupnomasshtabnoj yadernoj energetike Rossii. [Transmutation fuel cycle in a largescale nuclear power in Russia]. Moscow, GUP NIKIYeT Publ., 1999. (in Russian)
11. A.G. Groff, A user’s manual for the ORIGEN2 computer code. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 1980.

For full access to information log in or register here.