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Breeder reactor

extraction, there would be enough fuel for breeder reactors to satisfy our energy needs for 5 billion years at
1983’s total energy consumption rate, thus making nuclear energy effectively a renewable energy.[9][10]
Nuclear waste became a greater concern by the 1990s. In
broad terms, spent nuclear fuel has two main components.
The first consists of fission products, the leftover fragments of fuel atoms after they have been split to release
energy. Fission products come in dozens of elements and
hundreds of isotopes, all of them lighter than uranium.
The second main component of spent fuel is transuranics
(atoms heavier than uranium), which are generated from
uranium or heavier atoms in the fuel when they absorb
neutrons but do not undergo fission. All transuranic isotopes fall within the actinide series on the periodic table,
and so they are frequently referred to as the actinides.
The physical behavior of the fission products is markedly
different from that of the transuranics. In particular,
fission products do not themselves undergo fission, and
therefore cannot be used for nuclear weapons. Furthermore, only seven long-lived fission product isotopes have
half-lives longer than a hundred years, which makes their
geological storage or disposal less problematic than for
transuranic materials.[11]

Assembly of the core of Experimental Breeder Reactor I in Idaho,
United States, 1951

With increased concerns about nuclear waste, breeding
fuel cycles became interesting again because they can reduce actinide wastes, particularly plutonium and minor
actinides.[12] Breeder reactors are designed to fission the
actinide wastes as fuel, and thus convert them to more
fission products.

A breeder reactor is a nuclear reactor capable of generating more fissile material than it consumes.[1] These devices are able to achieve this because their neutron economy is high enough to breed more fissile fuel than they
use from fertile material such as uranium-238 or thorium232. Breeders were at first found attractive because their
fuel economy was better than light water reactors, but interest declined after the 1960s as more uranium reserves
were found,[2] and new methods of uranium enrichment
reduced fuel costs.


After "spent nuclear fuel" is removed from a light water
reactor, it undergoes a complex decay profile as each nuclide decays at a different rate. Due to a physical oddity
referenced below, there is a large gap in the decay halflives of fission products compared to transuranic isotopes.
If the transuranics are left in the spent fuel, after 1,000
to 100,000 years, the slow decay of these transuranics
would generate most of the radioactivity in that spent fuel.
Thus, removing the transuranics from the waste eliminates much of the long-term radioactivity of spent nuclear

Fuel efficiency and types of nuclear waste

Breeder reactors could, in principle, extract almost all of
the energy contained in uranium or thorium, decreasing
fuel requirements by a factor of 100 compared to widelyused once-through light water reactors, which extract less
than 1% of the energy in the uranium mined from the
earth.[8] The high fuel efficiency of breeder reactors could
greatly reduce concerns about fuel supply or energy used
in mining. Adherents claim that with seawater uranium

Today’s commercial light water reactors do breed some
new fissile material, mostly in the form of plutonium. Because commercial reactors were never designed as breeders, they do not convert enough uranium-238 into plutonium to replace the uranium-235 consumed. Nonetheless, at least one-third of the power produced by commercial nuclear reactors comes from fission of plutonium


Pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWR) running on natural uranium have a conversion ratio of 0. “Doubling time” is the amount of time it would take for a breeder reactor to produce enough new fissile material to create a starting fuel load for another nuclear reactor. many minor actinides. doubling time has become a less important metric in modern breeder reactor design. when uranium was thought to be scarce. or thorium. it is perhaps simplest to divide the extant reactor designs into two broad categories based upon their neutron spectrum. Breeder reactors. all these isotopes may be burned as fuel.[23] Theoreti- TYPES OF BREEDER REACTOR cal models of breeders with liquid sodium coolant flowing through tubes inside fuel elements (“tube-in-shell” construction) suggest breeding ratios of at least 1. reactor-grade plutonium is normally recycled only once in LWRs as mixed oxide fuel. An example of this process is the evolution of the Light Water Reactor. Almost any of these basic design types may be fueled by uranium.2 3 generated within the fuel. 2 Conversion ratio. plutonium. and given the amount of plutonium available in spent reactor fuel.0. breakeven. using light water in an extremely low-density supercritical form to increase the neutron economy high enough to allow breeding. some new fissile material is always created.2 for the Russian BN-350 liquid-metal-cooled reactor.[17] In a breeder reactor. Many types of breeder reactor are possible: A 'breeder' is simply a reactor designed for very high neutron economy with an associated conversion rate higher than 1. the conversion ratio is higher than 1. or active burning of nuclear wastes. since uranium is more abundant than thought. Burnup is an important factor in determining the types and abundances of isotopes produced by a fission reactor. such as creating more fissile fuel. along with significant quantities of other minor actinides.[20] In the past breeder reactor development focused on reactors with low breeding ratios. In principle. with limited reductions in long-term waste radioactivity.8 are possible.8. and burnup One measure of a reactor’s performance is the “conversion ratio” (the average number of new fissile atoms created per fission event). and Curium are all produced.[15] Even with reprocessing. into the Super Fast Reactor [25] concept. isotopes of Plutonium. by design. breeding ratio. Starting at Uranium-238. almost any reactor design could possibly be tweaked to become a breeder. which has the natural effect of dividing the reactor designs into those which are designed to utilize primarily uranium and transuranics. and those designed to . while most or all of the actinides are meant to be fissioned and destroyed. For example. gas cooled. Americium. In a Fast Neutron Breeder Reactor. there are many other types of breeder reactor currently envisioned as possible. from 1. long-term steady-state operation.[24] 3 Types of breeder reactor 36% 239 Pu 64% 238 U 91% 238 Pu 9% α 2% β 25% 79% fission% capture% less fertile shortlived α% β% 242 Pu 243 Pu β EC 3% 241 Am 10% α 15% 241 Pu 72% α 96% 240 fissile Pu fertile 17% 242 Am 1% 16% 10% 243 Am 1% 99% 244 Am β 242m 84% Am β 81% 242 1% Cm 3% 243 85% Cm 13% 244 4% Cm 81% 245 85% Cm Production of heavy transuranic actinides in current thermalneutron fission reactors through neutron capture and decays. As long as there is any amount of a fertile material within the neutron flux of the reactor. “Breakeven” is achieved when the conversion ratio becomes 1: the reactor produces as much fissile material as it uses. For convenience. These include molten-salt cooled. and liquid metal cooled designs in many variations.[14] Even with this level of plutonium consumption. often expressed (for power reactors) in terms of gigawatt-days per ton of heavy metal. and nonfissile isotopes of plutonium build up. as breeder reactors produce much more of their waste in the form of fission products. All proposed nuclear reactors except specially designed and operated actinide burners[16] experience some degree of conversion. a very heavily moderated thermal design. doubling time.01 for the Shippingport Reactor[21][22] running on thorium fuel and cooled by conventional light water to over 1. However.[18][19] "Burnup" is a measure of how much energy has been extracted from a given mass of heavy metal in fuel. and they may be designed for many different goals.6. have extremely high burnup compared to a conventional reactor. light water reactors consume only part of the plutonium and minor actinides they produce. This was considered an important measure of breeder performance in early years. Aside from water cooled. The ratio of new fissile material in spent fuel to fissile material consumed from the fresh fuel is known as the “conversion ratio” or “breeding ratio” of a reactor. commonly used light water reactors have a conversion ratio of approximately 0.

such that no fission products have a half-life longer than 91 years and shorter than two hundred thousand years.[9] leaving only fission products. which has the used in LWRs. since it extracts weapons usable material from spent fuel. Early proposals for the breeder reactor fuel cycle posed an even greater proliferation concern because they would use PUREX to separate plutonium in a highly attractive isotopic form for use in nuclear weapons. As the graphic in this section indicates. as well as proposals to combine PUREX with co-processes. leading to extremely high gamma radiation has an atomic weight of 238. which then decays to uraniumand neutrons. The volume of waste they generate would be reduced by a factor of about 100 as well.[26] The most common reprocessing technique. thorium-232 breeds by converting actinide nuclei with even numbers of both protons first to protactinium-233.[13] In principle. For instance. Breeder reactor waste is mostly fission products. leaves large amounts of radioactive actinides in the reactor fuel.[27][28] Nuclear waste became a greater concern by the 1990s. However. All of these systems have better proliferation resistance than Both types of breeding cycles can reduce actinide wastes: PUREX. The fertile material in able elements build up. gamma rays complicate the safe handling of a weapon and the design of its electronics. If the protactinium remains in the reactor. include SANEX. to obtain this benefit requires the highly efficient separation of transuranics from spent fuel. like PUREX.[31] sibly higher transuranics from fertile uranium-238. although their adoption rate is low. As a result of this physical oddity. since it was expressly designed to separate pure plutonium. this explains why U• Fast breeder reactor or FBR uses fast (unmoder. All reprocessing can present a proliferation concern. small speed "thermal neutron" resonances of fissile fuels amounts of U-232 are also produced. 4 Reprocessing Fission of the nuclear fuel in any reactor produces neutron-absorbing fission products. breeder fuel cycles can recycle and consume all actinides. the more of these undesirlevels of heavy actinides. the non-water based pyrometallurgical electrowinning process. COEX. after several hundred years in storage.[12] Since breeder reactors on a closed fuel cycle would use nearly all of the actinides fed into them as fuel. presents a particular concern. a thermal breeder is thought commercially feasible only with thorium fuel. the activity of the waste is about the same as that produced by a light water reactor. their fuel requirements would be reduced by a factor of about 100. In addition. Eliminating them would eliminate much of the long-term radioactivity from the spent fuel. Similar to uranium-fueled designs. DIAMEX. That mass difference doses from any uranium derived from thorium. If the fuel reprocessing methods used leave a large fraction of the transuranics in the final waste stream.of-concept demonstrations. Due to the behavior of the various nuclear fuels.[37] strong gamma emitter Tl-208 in its decay chain. Because of this unavoidable physical process. 5 Waste reduction • Thermal breeder reactor use thermal spectrum (moderated) neutrons to breed fissile uranium-233 from thorium (thorium fuel cycle). These means that thorium-232 requires six more neutron . which avoids the buildup of the heavier transuranics. UNEX.000 years.233 has never been pursued for weapons beyond proofated) neutrons to breed fissile plutonium and pos. This step is required if one is to fully utilize the ability to breed as much or more fuel than is consumed. because it is made up of different materials. The fast spectrum is flexible enough that it can also breed fissile uranium-233 from thorium. thorium reactors high levels of U232 would be allowed to while the fertile material in the uranium fuel cycle accumulate.3 use thorium and avoid transuranics. particularly plutonium and minor actinides. these transuranics would be the main source of radioactivity. the longer the fuel and fertile • The thorium fuel cycle inherently produces lower material remain in the reactor. while light water reactor waste has a large quantity of transuranics.[8] Several countries are developing reprocessing methods that do not separate the plutonium from the other actinides. and TRUEX. it is necessary to reprocess the fertile material from a breeder reactor to remove those neutron poisons. Such nucleii usually lack the low233. the activity of the radioactive waste from a Fast Breeder Reactor would quickly drop to the low level of the long-lived fission products.[29][30] • The fast breeder reactor's fast neutrons can fission In the thorium cycle. this advantage would be greatly reduced.[8] More conventional advanced reprocessing systems which are based on water. Inside the envisioned commercial the thorium fuel cycle has an atomic weight of 232. While there is a huge reduction in the volume of waste from a breeder reactor. fission products have a peculiar 'gap' in their aggregate half-lives. when used to reprocess fuel from an integral fast reactor. the waste from a breeder reactor has a different decay behavior. PUREX. if desired. Breeding fuel cycles attracted renewed interest because of their potential to reduce actinide wastes. After spent nuclear fuel has been removed from a light water reactor for longer than 100.

Schematic diagram showing the difference between the Loop and Pool types of LMFBR.1 All current fast neutron reactor designs use liquid metal as the primary coolant. which served as the prototype for the Integral Fast Reactor 6 Breeder reactor concepts There are several concepts for breeder reactors. Looking further ahead. FBRs have been built cooled by liquid metals other than sodium—some early FBRs used mercury. Breeding designs surround the core by a breeding blanket of fertile material. Waste burners surround the core with non-fertile wastes to be destroyed. Enriched uraone of two designs:[1] nium can also be used on its own. by capturing fast neutrons from the reaction in the core. In many designs. 6. The relative merits of lead vs sodium are discussed here. again as the fuel nuclei U235. and zirconium (used (LMFBR) cooled by liquid sodium. is converted to fissile plutonium-239 (as is some of the uranium in the core). (from power turbine) Reactor pool (primary coolant) Intermediate loop Powergeneration loop Intermediate loop Reactor loop (primary coolant) • Supercritical Water Reactor (SCWR) based on existing LWR and supercritical boiler technology. four of the proposed generation IV reactor types are FBRs:[40] Fast breeder reactor • Gas-Cooled Fast Reactor (GFR) cooled by helium. in which the primary coolant is circulated through primary heat exchangers outside the reactor tank (but inside the biological shield due to radioactive sodium-24 in the primary coolant) . • Reactors with a thermal neutron spectrum are called thermal breeder reactors – these typically utilize thorium-232 as fuel. In addition to this simple mass difference. Liquid Metal cooled Fast Breeder Reactors (LMFBR) "Pool" Design "Loop" Design Control Rods Steam (to power turbine) Flow Baffle Control rods Coolant Level Fissile Core Fissile Core Breeder Blanket Reactor Pool Pump Breeder Blanket Biological Shielding Biological Shielding Liquid metal coolant Liquid metal coolant Heat exchanger Heat exchanger Steam generator Steam generator Water • Sodium-Cooled Fast Reactor (SFR) based on the existing Liquid Metal FBR (LMFBR) and Integral Fast Reactor designs. Both breeding and burning depend on good neutron economy.[16] Experimental Breeder Reactor II. and many designs can do either. FBRs usually use a mixed oxide fuel core of up to 20% plutonium dioxide (PuO2 ) and at least 80% uranium In 2006 all large-scale fast breeder reactor (FBR) dioxide (UO2 ). in which the primary heat exchangers and itself (which also contains uranium-238). Some designs add neutron reflectors or absorbers. The plutonium-239 • Loop type. These have been of because it is “transparent” to neutrons). the core is surrounded in a blanket of tubes containing non-fissile uranium-238 which. typipower stations were liquid metal fast breeder reactors cally a blend of uranium. which is convenient for experimental rigs but less important for pilot or full scale power stations.[38][39] A reactor whose main purpose is to destroy actinides.4 6 BREEDER REACTOR CONCEPTS capture events per nucleus before the transuranic elements can be produced. the two main ones are: • Reactors with a fast neutron spectrum are called fast breeder reactors (FBR) – these typically utilize uranium-238 as fuel. is sometimes known as a burner reactor. which is then reprocessed and used as nuclear fuel. plutonium. Both have the advantage that they are liquids at room temperature. Other FBR designs rely on the geometry of the fuel • Pool type. and as it absorbs two more neutrons. other experimental reactors have used a sodium-potassium alloy called NaK. • Lead-Cooled Fast Reactor (LFR) based on Soviet naval propulsion units. Lead and lead-bismuth alloy have also been used. to transfer heat from the core to steam used to power the electricity generating turbines. arranged to atpumps are immersed in the reactor tank tain sufficient fast neutron capture. Another fuel option is metal alloys. the reactor gets two chances to fission the nuclei as the mass increases: First as the effective fuel nuclei U233. rather than increasing fissile fuel stocks.

A quantity of natural uranium metal equivalent to a block about the Another proposed fast reactor is a fast molten salt reactor. in which the molten salt’s moderating properties are insignificant. 6. in contrast.g. BeF2 ) in the salt carrier with heavier metal chlorides (e.[16] size of a milk crate delivered once per month would be all the fuel such a 1 gigawatt reactor would need. they are compact and self-contained. For this reason ordinary liquid water. This is typically achieved by replacing the light metal fluorides (e.2 Other fast reactors sion than slow neutrons. making a fast-spectrum water-cooled reactor a practical possibility.1 Integral fast reactor One design of fast neutron reactor. India is also developing FBR technology.[43] Such systems not only commingle all the minor actinides with both uranium and plutonium. was the integral fast reactor (also known as an integral fast breeder reactor.[47] As well as their thermal breeder program. specifically designed to address the waste disposal and plutonium issues. slow down the neutrons at all. Theoretical work has been done on reduced moderation water reactors. This would likely result in an unacceptable power derating and high costs in an liquidwater-cooled reactor.1 Fast breeder reactor 5 (or the fissile uranium-235) fission cross-section is much smaller in a fast spectrum than in a thermal spectrum. the yield of neutrons and therefore breeding of 239 Pu are strongly affected. Because large amounts of water in the core are required to cool the reactor. Some of these fission products could later be separated for industrial or medical uses and the rest sent to a waste repository (where they would not have to be stored for anywhere near as long as wastes containing long half-life transuranics).[44] Such self-contained breeders are currently envisioned as the final self-contained and self-supporting ultimate goal of nuclear reactor designers. LiF.6. ZrCl4 ). 1951) to over 1. the reactor would then be refueled only with small deliveries of natural uranium metal. but the supercritical water coolant of the SCWR has sufficient heat capacity to allow adequate cooling with less water.6. Germany. a 560MW sodium cooled reactor.00. being a moderator as well as a neutron absorber. This increases the concentration of 239 Pu/235 U needed to sustain a chain reaction. .6 billion Euros. anticipating that rising uranium prices will change this in the long term.1. As of 2006. using both uranium and thorium feedstocks. The IFR pyroprocessing system uses molten cadmium cathodes and electrorefiners to reprocess metallic fuel directly on-site at the reactor. leaving just short half-life fission products in the waste. although the original reactor was deThe graphite core of the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment signed to not breed a net surplus of fissile material). KCl.[8][16] The project was canceled in 1994 by United States Secretary of Energy Hazel [45][46] On the other hand. as well as the ratio of breeding to fission. as is the ratio between the 239 Pu/235 U fission cross-section and the 238 U absorption cross-section. which may have a sufficiently fast spectrum to provide a breeding ratio slightly over 1.[41][42] To solve the waste disposal problem. a fast reactor needs no moderator to O'Leary. Several prototype FBRs have been built. abandoned the technology due to safety concerns.000 MWe. taking advantage of the fast neutrons producing a greater number of neutrons per fis. the technology is not economically competitive to thermal reactor technology—but India.g. RbCl. the IFR had an onsite electrowinning fuel reprocessing unit that recycled the uranium and all the transuranics (not just plutonium) via electroplating. The SNR-300 fast breeder reactor was finished after 19 years despite cost overruns summing up to a total of 3. only to then be abandoned.. Breeder reactors incorporating such technology would most likely be designed with breeding ratios very close to 1. so that after an initial loading of enriched uranium and/or plutonium fuel. Japan. is an undesirable primary coolant for fast reactors. ranging in electrical output from a few light bulbs’ equivalent (EBR-I. China.1.[25] The only commercially operating reactor to date (2015) is the BN-600 reactor in Russia. South Korea and Russia are all committing substantial research funds to further development of Fast Breeder reactors. so that no plutoniumcontaining material ever needs to be transported away from the site of the breeder reactor.

used as a prototype Light Water Breeder for five years beginning in August. however.[48] India is developing this technology. but the reality is that capital costs are at least 25% more than water cooled reactors. the former USSR. high kW alternative to fossil fuel energy.[49] It used pellets made of thorium dioxide and uranium-233 oxide. • It was expected that the proliferation risks posed by breeders and their “closed” fuel cycle. many for research related to the Generation IV reactor initiative. Several reactors are planned. From 2012 it became the subject of renewed interest worldwide. In the documentary "Pandora’s Promise". which also lacks significant uranium reserves.5–3% in the blanket region and none in the reflector region. This solves one of the most important negative issues of nuclear power. • It was thought that Breeder reactors could be as safe and reliable as light-water reactors. demonstrating that breeding from thorium had occurred. As of 2014 one such reactor was being used for power generation. After five years. uranium has been much cheaper and more abundant than early designers expected. one pound of uranium provides as much power as 5000 barrels of oil. It operated at 236 MWt. but safety issues are cited as a concern with fast reactors that use a sodium coolant. where a leak could lead to a sodium fire. and the United States. with another scheduled for early 2015. generating 60 MWe and ultimately produced over 2. all breeding cycles could theoretically pose proliferation risks.[52] Japan.[53][54] The rationale for pursuing breeder reactors—sometimes explicit and sometimes implicit—was based on the following key assumptions:[54][55] • It was expected that uranium would be scarce and high-grade deposits would quickly become depleted if fission power were deployed on a large scale. India and Japan.4% more fissile material than when it was installed. a case is made for breeder reactors because they provide a real. initially. the promise of breeder reactors remains largely unfulfilled and efforts to commercialize them have been steadily cut back in most countries”. almost a third of the world’s thorium reserves are in India. which began operating in 1977. 1. is that since the end of the cold war. the core was removed and found to contain nearly 1.[1] An experimental FBR in Germany was built but never operated.[58] FBRs have been built and operated in the United States. no need to manufacture fuel rods and possibly simpler reprocessing of the liquid fuel. But since plutonium breeding reactors produce plutonium from U238. breeder reactor development programs have been abandoned. the United Kingdom. the United Kingdom. . This concept was first investigated at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment in the 1960s.1 billion kilowatt hours of electricity. There are some past anti-nuclear advocates that have become pro-nuclear power as a clean source of electricity since breeder reactors effectively recycle most of their waste. could be managed.2 7 BREEDER REACTOR CONTROVERSY Thermal breeder reactor the equivalent of tens of billions of dollars. the U-233 content of the pellets was 5–6% in the seed region. Czech and Australian companies have expressed intent to develop and commercialize the technology.[50][51] The liquid fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR) is also planned as a thorium thermal breeder. such as inherent safety. and thorium reactors produce fissile U233 from thorium. According to the movie. In 2010 the International Panel on Fissile Materials said “After six decades and the expenditure of • It was expected that breeder reactors would quickly become economically competitive with the lightwater reactors that dominate nuclear power today. in which plutonium would be recycled. fast breeder reactors have been subject to much controversy over the years. 7 Breeder reactor controversy Like many aspects of nuclear power. the UK. China. The third and final core of the Shippingport Atomic Power Station 60 MWe reactor was a light water thorium breeder. as well as private US.6 6. their interest motivated by substantial thorium reserves. France.[57] These problems have stymied their deployment and lent credence to calls for their abandonment. the reality. Liquid-fluoride reactors may have attractive features.[56] The Shippingport Reactor. 1977 The advanced heavy water reactor (AHWR) is one of the few proposed large-scale uses of thorium. In Germany.

a company aimed to develop BR-1 (1955) was 100W (thermal) was followed by BR-2 20-50 MW LFTR reactor designs to power military at 100 kW and then the 5MW BR-5. BREST . with con. formally announced at An experimental lead-cooled fast reactor. The development program is as part of an Advanced Nuclear Technologies Federal Program 2010-2020 that seeks to exploit fast reactors as a way to be vastly more efficient in the use of uranium while 'burning' radioactive substances that otherwise would have to be disposed of as waste. with two additional BN-1200 reactors built by the end of 2030. has long been a promoter of thorium fuel cycle and particularly liquid fluoride thorium reactors.[67] China also initiated a research and development project in thorium molten-salt thermal breeder reactor technology (Liquid fluoride thorium reactor). dissolved in 1991) constructed a series of fast reactors. the first being mercury-cooled and fueled with plutonium metal. BREST-300 will be built at the Siberian Chemical Combine (SCC) in Seversk. Its ultimate target is to investigate and develop a thorium-based molten salt nuclear system over about 20 years. The BREST design is seen as a successor to the BN series and the 300 MWe unit at the SCC could be the forerunner to a 1. The China Experimental Fast Reactor (CEFR) is a 25 MW(e) prototype for the planned China Prototype Fast Reactor (CFRP). Thorium fuel is the strategic direction of the power program of India.[66] It started generating power on 21 July 2011. A thermal breeder is not possible with purely uranium/plutonium based technology. owing to the nation’s large reserves of thorium. bases. India is also pursuing the thorium thermal breeder reactor. Sorensen founded Flibe Energy.[68][69] Kirk Sorensen. succeeding a smaller BN-600. superseded by the BNfour more breeder reactors of 500 MWe each including 800 reactor family. A BN-800 reactor (800 MWe) at Beloyarsk was completed in 2012.7 8 Breeder reactor development and notable breeder reactors The Soviet Union (comprising Russia and other countries.[65] Russia has a plan for increasing its fleet of fast breeder reactors significantly. and amongst cost concerns. the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) annual conference in January 2011.[74] It is expected to start to work in nominal power mode later in 2015.[75] The Chinese Experimental Fast Reactor is a 65 MW (thermal).200 MWe) initially anticipated completion in 2018. and the later plants sodium-cooled and fueled with plutonium oxide. India’s Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) said in 2007 that it would simultaneously construct A cutaway model of the BN-600 reactor. pool-type reactor with a 30-year design lifetime and a target burnup of 100 MWd/kg. former NASA scientist and Chief Nuclear Technologist at Teledyne Brown Engineering. to complement the standardized PWR (Pressurized Water Reactor) and CANDU designs they have already developed and built.[76] However. with commissioning date known by midyear.[63][64] The FBR program of India includes the concept of using fertile thorium-232 to breed fissile uranium233. 9 Future plants In 2012 an FBR called the Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor was under construction in India. but has not yet committed to building a prototype. 20 MW (electric). In 2011.[70][71][72][73] BOR-60 (first criticality 1969) was 60 MW.[62] modular FBR for export. but worldwide known reserves of thorium are also some four times those of uranium.200 MWe version for wide deployment as a commercial power generation unit. In June 2014 the BN-800 was started in the minimum power mode.[75] Plans for the construction of an even larger BN-1200 reactor (1. due to be completed that year. sodium-cooled. in 2015 Rosenergoatom postponed construction indefinitely to allow fuel design to be improved after more experience of operating the BN-800 reactor. two at Kalpakkam.South Korea is developing a design for a standardized struction started in 1965.

Reynolds. By replacing a static core configuration with an actively managed “standing wave” or “soliton” core. Russian for 'fast reactor with lead coolant'. giving a high efficiency of 43%.[83] The traveling wave reactor proposed in a patent by Intellectual Ventures is a fast breeder reactor designed to not need fuel reprocessing during the decades-long lifetime of the reactor. partly as a means of reducing the country’s plutonium stockpile.1 metres in height and contain 16 tonnes of fuel. Mitsubishi FBR Systems (MFBR) to develop and eventually sell FBR technology. • Gas-cooled fast reactor In September 2010 the French government allocated 651. which should allow the construction of a demonstration plant based on the company’s S-PRISM fast breeder re- • Generation IV reactor • Supercritical water reactor • Nuclear fusion-fission hybrid • David Hahn 11 References [1] Waltar..S. the containment vessel remains closed during the procedure. fuel rods are continually reshuffled within the core to optimize the neutron flux and fuel usage at any given point in time.3 metres in diameter by 1.[84] 10 See also • India’s three stage nuclear power programme • Fast neutron reactor • Sodium-cooled fast reactor • Integral Fast Reactor • Lead-cooled fast reactor The Marcoule Nuclear Site in France. the fuel itself is moved through a largely stationary burn wave. Lead coolant temperature would be around 540 °C. A. The unit would be refuelled every year.. . • Reduced moderation water reactor In October 2010 GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy signed a memorandum of understanding with the operators of the US Department of Energy’s Savannah River site. TerraPower's design avoids the problem of cooling a highly variable burn region. MHI started a new company. the reconfiguration of fuel rods is accomplished remotely by robotic devices. The design is expected to be completed by NIKIET in 2014 for construction between 2016 and 2020. primary heat production of 700 MWt yielding electrical power of 300 MWe. as the fuel’s composition changes through nuclear transmutation. Shortly thereafter. Its core would measure about 2. Moreover.E. The breed-burn wave in the TWR design does not move from one end of the reactor to the other but gradually from the inside out. the U.[82] In October 2011 The Independent reported that the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) and senior advisers within the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) had asked for technical and financial details of the PRISM. France and Japan signed an “arrangement” to research and develop sodium-cooled fast reactors in support of the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership. ISBN 978-008-025983-3. New York: Pergamon Press. which have popularized the concept as a candle-like reactor with a burn region that moves down a stick of fuel. A. 2006. location of the Phénix (on the left) and possible future site of the ASTRID Gen-IV reactor.6 million euros to the Commissariat à l'énergie atomique to finalize the design of “Astrid” (Advanced Sodium Technological Reactor for Industrial Demonstration).8 refers to bystry reaktor so svintsovym teplonositelem.B (1981). Thus.[79] 11 REFERENCES actor prior to the design receiving full NRC licensing approval. Under this scenario.[77] Construction of the BN-800 reactor On February 16. This is contrary to many media reports.[78] In April 2007 the Japanese government selected Mitsubishi Heavy Industries as the “core company in FBR development in Japan”. Fast breeder reactors.[80][81] As of 2013 the UK had shown interest in the PRISM reactor and was working in concert with France to develop ASTRID. instead of letting the wave propagate through the fuel. and there is no associated downtime. 853. a 600 MW reactor design of the 4th generation to be operational in 2020. with each fuel element spending five years in total within the core. p. The operational lifespan of the unit could be 60 years.

p. K. Placid. (1998) Review of the Radkowsky Thorium Reactor Concept. “Preliminary Core Design Studies for the Advanced Burner Reactor over a Wide Range of Conversion Ratios”.ne. Light Water Breeder Reactor. Hoffman. World Nuclear Association. (February 2010).. [10] Weinberg. [34] Milsted. Argonne National Laboratory. 237–269. Andrew C. “Limits to the use of energy.R.” Am. [29] Ozawa. Nuclear Physics 71 (2): 299.. (2008). Retrieved 16 December 2012. K. P. “An Assessment of the Proliferation Resistance of Materials in Advanced Fuel Cycles” (PDF). [11] “Radioactive Waste Management”. Retrieved 16 December 2012.9 [2] Helmreich.G. [30] Simpson. P. [13] Bodansky. C. [33] Specifically from thermal neutron fission of U-235. Retrieved 16 December 2012. “Who is afraid of breeders?". “SCALE 5 Analysis of BWR Spent Nuclear Fuel Isotopic Compositions for Safety Studies” (PDF). 1943–1954.htm [7] http://atom.1016/0029-5582(65)90719-4. Hill. Table 6–1. I. [19] R.. “Proliferation Risk Reduction Study ofAlternative Spent Fuel Processing” (PDF). M. R. M. [31] Kang and Von Hippel (2001). (PDF) Science & Global Security 7. Kalpakkam 603 102. [15] U. 1986: ch.903. Koma. M. “The isotopic analyses disclosed a species of mass 248 in . Retrieved 24 December 2012. 12_v14%5B6%5D. 5–8 July 2010. (1965). Francis. Michael F. Georgia State University. Prasad (10 October 2002). Presented at IAEA Technical Committee Meeting on SCWRs in Pisa.htm [6] http://www. 305–329. Retrieved 18 December 2012. at 1600 years. Science & Global Security. Law. M.S. Takano. “Fast breeder reactor: Is advanced fuel necessary?". Retrieved 25 December 2012. David (January 2006). Sano. Prof. Stevens. Princeton UP.laradioactivite. [17] Kadak. Jack D. Nuclear Technology 93. Operational Reactor Safety 22.. (1995). ORNL/TM-2010/286. India: The Hindu : Online edition of India’s National Newspaper.laradioactivite. [26] R. Mertyurek. [16] E. Retrieved 15 December 2012. Atomic Energy Insights 1.kaeri. Retrieved 24 December 2012. World Nuclear Association. “A New Reprocessing System Composed of PUREX and TRUEX Processes For Total Separation of Longlived Radionuclides” (PDF).ac.pdf" (PDF). (1991).. Gathering Rare Ores: The Diplomacy of Uranium Acquisition. J. Current Status of Research and Development of Supercritical Water-Cooled Fast Reactor (Super Fast Reactor) in Japan. Fuel Depletion & Related Effects”. M.E. A. Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research. doi:10. Sci. While actually a sub-actinide. Retrieved 16 October 2007. 2008. Yang. OAK RIDGE NATIONAL LABORATORY. and Sato. Friedman. it immediately precedes actinium (89) and follows a threeelement gap of instability after polonium (84) where no isotopes have half-lives of at least four years (the longestlived isotope in the gap is radon-222 with a half life of less than four days).091/22. “Lecture 4. Bathke et al. Department of Hammond (1970) FastNeutrons. in a typical nuclear Current-and-Future-Generation/ Fast-Neutron-Reactors/ [20] [21] Adams. [5] Capture. as referenced by MIT. [25] T. Physics and Society (American Physical Society) 35 (1). “Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing” (PDF). a new long-lived isomer of berkelium-248”. Nomura. Y. (2009). World Nuclear Association. T. M. Retrieved 25 December 2012. Brookhaven National Laboratory. Idaho National Laboratory. [4] http://gsdm. W. [23] Fast Breeder Reactors. Volume 9 pp 1-32. T.N. 0892-9882/01. Bari et al. Lee. W. A high-breeding fast reactor with fission product gas purge/tube-in-shell metallic fuel assemblies.. [28] “An Assessment of the Proliferation Resistance of Materials in Advanced Nuclear Fuel Cycles” (PDF).world-nuclear. “The Status of Nuclear Waste Disposal”. “The alpha half-life of berkelium-247.. Hemisphere. A. Department of Physics & Astronomy. [27] C..html [8] “Pyroprocessing Technologies: RECYCLING USED NUCLEAR FUEL FOR A SUSTAINABLE ENERGY FUTURE” (PDF). Retrieved 11 March 2012. Sako. “Average Conversion or Breeding Ratios for Reference Reactor Systems”. [12] “Supply of Uranium”. Argonne National Laboratory. R. Retrieved 25 December 2012. India. Takanashi.anl. S. H.g. 10 ISBN 0-7837-9349-9 [3] http://www. 58. [22] Kasten. C. [9] "www. [18] Rodriguez. Argonne National Laboratory. and R. Ishii. “U-232 and the Proliferation-Resistance of U-233 in Spent Fuel” (PDF). ANL-AFCI-177. M. thus merits the element’s inclusion here. [14] “Information Paper 15”. BNL-902642009-CP. [32] Plus radium (element 88). [24] Hiraoka. Y.. 412. Chennai. Radium’s longest lived isotope. M. J. Nakatsuka et al.

E. [37] “Neutron Cross Sections4. [43] Hannum. Landmarks/5643.. [54] Frank von Hippel et al. [45] Kirsch. [47] Werner Meyer-Larsen: Der Koloß von Kalkar. July 2004.asme. “the future of advanced nuclear fission energy . some numbers. Argonne National Laboratory. PUREX and PYRO are not the same. No growth of Cf248 was detected. W. Elisabeth Huffer. STREAMING) (Motion picture). Pillai.7. Sylvain.10 11 constant abundance in three samples analysed over a period of about 10 months. [35] This is the heaviest isotope with a half-life of at least four years before the "Sea of Instability". Retrieved 24 Apr 2014. “Revisiting the thorium-uranium nuclear fuel cycle” (PDF). html". Fast Breeder Reactor Programs: History and Status (PDF). that of 113 Cd is nearly eight quadrillion. George S. “A Technology Roadmap for Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems” (PDF). [38] David. Retrieved 28 April 2014. 42-55. Impact Partners and CNN Films. [62] FSUE “State Scientific Center of Russian Federation Research Institute of Atomic Reactors”.V. if you could release all of the energy. Retrieved 15 June 2012. [68] Qimin. 16 July Error in template * unknown parameter name (Template:Der Spiegel): '1. [60] “Database on Nuclear Power Reactors”. Victor (12 January 2012). [63] Srikanth (27 November 2011).com/ experimental-breeder-reactor-1-ebr-1.December 2001”. Mycle Schneider (May–June 2010). [58] Len Koch.weebly. “LFTR: A Long-Term Energy Solution?". [42] “National Policy Analysis #378: Integral Fast Reactors: Source of Safe. the alpha half-life is probably greater than 300 y. as the Chinese Academy of Sciences of the first to start one of the strategic leader in science and technology projects. e. [61] http://cheekatales. Retrieved 30 October 2011.g. pioneering nuclear engineer (2013). [51] Thorium information from the World Nuclear Association [64] Jaganathan. Venkatachari (11 May 2011). [50] "atomicinsights. [53] M. PRIS. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 70 (3). G.” REFERENCES [52] Stenger. Physics and Society.V. [57] “Global Uranium Supply and Demand .html [44] University of Washington (2004). which is the size of my fingertip. [65] “Home – India Defence”. S. July 2011. Ramana. Retrieved 15 February 2015. Mycle Schneider (May–June 2010).2”.Council on Foreign Relations”.com/1995/10/ light-water-breeder-reactor-adapting-proven-system. [39] “Fissionable Isotopes”.pdf" (PDF). V. Chennai: Hindustan Times. [ and Pandora’s Promise] (DVD. International Panel on Fissile Materials. [67] “China’s experimental fast neutron reactor begins generating power”. and Stanford. and a lower limit for the β− half-life can be set at about 104 y. Text' (German) [48] “Thorium”. Non-Polluting Power . Steve. Hervé Nifenecker.Council on Foreign Relations”. Retrieved 2013-05-20. “The future of nuclear power plant safety “are not picky eaters"" (in Chinese). has the equivalent of about 5. Yesterday. Reactors Designed by Argonne National Laboratory. [36] Excluding those "classically stable" isotopes with halflives significantly in excess of 232 Th. One pound of uranium. Retrieved 15 February 2015. Retrieved 17 December 2012. [46] Stanford. “Comments on the Misguided Termination of the IFR Project” (PDF).10. nuclear power from September next”. Huffington Post. “It’s time to give up on breeder reactors” (PDF). Ramana (2014). doi:10. while 113m Cd has a half-life of only fourteen years. 11 minutes in. “Breeder reactors: A possible connection between metal corrosion and sodium leaks”. GIF-002-00. IAEA. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. [49] "files. Retrieved 25 March 2012.1981.S. [55] M. “Experimental fast reactor BOR-60”. [41] “The Integral Fast Reactor”. G. “80% of work on fast breeder reactor at Kalpakkam over”. (2004). . Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. “It’s time to give up on breeder reactors” (PDF). National Physical Laboratory. ISBN 978-0-9819275-6-5. Der Spiegel.1177/0096340214531178. Abundant. No alpha activity attributable to the new isomer has been detected. “Der Koloß von Kalkar”.nuclear energy. Retrieved 2011-07-21. “India’s new fast-breeder on track. R. (February 2010). Energy Numbers: Energy in natural processes and human consumption. [40] US DOE Nuclear Energy Research Advisory Committee (2002).H. “The Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) project: Congress Q&A”. europhysicsnews. [56] “Global Uranium Supply and Demand . [59] S.000 barrels of oil. Xu (26 January 2011). xinhuanet. Retrieved 16 October 2007. Ramana. Marsh. Der Spiegel 43/1981 vom 19. [66] “IAEA Fast Reactor Database” (PDF). Kalpakkam: The Hindu. Retrieved 25 March 2012. This was ascribed to an isomer of Bk248 with a half-life greater than 9 y.

Generation IV International Forum Signs Agreement to Collaborate on Sodium Cooled Fast Reactors”. 23 May 2011. [77] “Fast moves for nuclear development in Siberia”. Retrieved 15 June 2012. 12 External links • Breeder terminology • US Nuclear Program • IAEA Fast Reactors Database • IAEA Technical Documents on Fast Reactors • Reactors Designed by Argonne National Laboratory: Fast Reactor Technology Argonne pioneered the development of fast reactors and is a leader in the development of fast reactors worldwide. Retrieved 15 June 2012. developed a new generation of nuclear energy systems. World Nuclear News. “French government puts up funds for Astrid”. The Independent (London). Environment Blog (London: The Guardian (UK)). AtomInfo. [70] “Flibe Energy”. Retrieved 27 July 2014. Retrieved 30 October 2011. Environment Blog (London: The Guardian (UK)). The scientific goal is 20 years or so. all the technical level reached in the test and have all the intellectual property rights.11 thorium-based molten salt reactor system” project was officially launched. “China enters race to develop nuclear energy from thorium”.org [75] “Russia postpones BN-1200 in order to improve fuel design”. William T. • The Changing Need for a Breeder Reactor by Richard Wilson at The Uranium Institute 24th Annual Symposium. World Nuclear 7 September 2001. [84] “TR10: Traveling Wave Reactor”. • Experimental Breeder Reactor-II (EBR-II): An Integrated Experimental Fast Reactor Nuclear Power Station [74] "Белоярская АЭС: начался выход БН−800 на минимальный уровень мощности". [80] World Nuclear News (16 September 2010). Retrieved 2010-11-04. (27 September 2011). Retrieved 19 April 2015. [76] "До 2030 в России намечено строительство трёх энергоблоков с реакторами БН−1200”. The Next Bi Future. Retrieved 27 July 2014. See also Argonne’s Nuclear Science and Technology Legacy. Retrieved 2009-03-06. • Atomic Heritage Foundation . [69] Clark. [83] Connor. Retrieved 8 October 2012. [71] “Kirk Sorensen has started a Thorium Power company Flibe Energy”. “New Huntsville company to build thorium-based nuclear reactors”. [79] “Nuclear Engineering International”.EBR-I [72] “Live chat: nuclear thorium technologist Kirk Sorensen”. IThEO. March 2009. Retrieved 30 October 2011. September 1999 [73] Martin. Technology Review. Retrieved 30 October 2011. [78] “Department of Energy . 16 April 2015. Retrieved 2011-10-30. 28 October 2010. Duncan (16 February 2011). • International Thorium Energy Organisation . Retrieved 30 October 2011. AtomInfo. [82] “Prototype Prism proposed for Savannah River”. Steve (28 October 2011). “New life for old idea that could dissolve our nuclear waste”. .www. World Nuclear Association. [81] “Quatrième génération : vers un nucléaire durable” (PDF) (in French). Huntsville Newswire.

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