Advantages and limitations of thorium fuelled energy amplifiers
The recently proposed energy amplifier reactor concept, based on the use of an accelerator driven sub-critical assembly with thorium as the breeding fuel, offers potentially significant advantages over conventional reactors in the nuclear fuel cycle. The main advantages appear to be, in addition to providing a reactor which is essentially sub-critical, that much less transuranic actinide waste is generated and the risk of nuclear proliferation is negligible. This paper analyses the proliferation and radiotoxicity problems associated with the various energy amplifiers using 232Th and 238U as breeding fuels. It is shown that there are major advantages to be obtained in radiotoxicity using 232Th, especially if the bred 233U and additional uranium isotopes are recycled. In addition, the fuel can be rendered proliferation resistant through mixing with the isotopic denaturant 238U. This is in contrast to uranium fuelled reactors where there is no natural denaturant for plutonium isotopes. It is also shown, however, that through the use of this isotopic denaturant for proliferation resistance of thorium fuel, a new source of radiotoxicity arises. The proliferation and radiotoxicity problems are now coupled together and this leads to limitation in the overall advantages to be gained.
Bibliographic Reference: Paper presented: Proceedings of the IAEA Conference, Obninsk (RU), November 7-11, 1994
Availability: Available from (1) as Paper EN 38786 ORA
Record Number: 199510122 / Last updated on: 1995-08-22
Original language: en
Available languages: en