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Ads and fast Reactor CompArison Study in support of Strategic Research Agenda of SNETP

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Nuclear choices for enhanced energy production

A sophisticated comparative study of different nuclear technologies will help policymakers and governments decide on the best options to streamline their nuclear facilities for more efficient energy production.


Cutting-edge reactor technology is crucial for ensuring adequate electricity output in the future, in line with the strategy of the EU's European Sustainable Nuclear Energy Technology Platform (SNETP). Accelerator-driven systems (ADSs) and other dedicated fast reactors are potential candidates for ensuring the viability of such technology. However, this requires a meticulous comparative study to identify the most suitable options. The EU-funded project 'ADS and fast reactor comparison study in support of Strategic Research Agenda of SNETP' (ARCAS) embarked on this mission. Building on a previous EU-funded project in this field, PATEROS, project members evaluated the costs of implementing ADSs or dedicated fast reactors as minor actinide burning facilities. Researchers exploited the outcomes of previous partitioning and transmutation research conducted by PATEROS partners. To ensure valid comparison of options, they estimated mass and composition of transuranic waste (i.e. plutonium and minor actinide material) for a given region or set of countries. In addition, the project also considered the maturity of the technology and how this could be incorporated into economic analyses. Assessments involved fuel cycle cost and maximal minor actinide content involved in core loading, in addition to checking a number of safety parameters. The project successfully analysed existing studies and defined the reference scenario, outlining a legal framework of partitioning and transmutation operations. Other considerations that were integrated into the analysis include the design of the spent fuel reprocessing facility, transmuter fuel fabrication facility, transport cask design and associated costs. The ARCAS evaluation can now support decision makers in assessing options that are favourable for each case, in line with national directives and policies. This presents another positive step in adopting the most ideal nuclear technology for energy production in Europe and can help ensure the sector's efficiency in the long run.

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