Accelerator-driven Systems (ADS) and Fast Reactors (FR) in Advanced Nuclear Fuel Cycles

The long-term hazard of radioactive wastes arising from nuclear energy production is a matter of continued discussion and public concern in many countries. By the use of partitioning and transmutation (P&T) of the actinides and some of the long-lived fission products, the radiotoxicity of the high-level waste (HLW) and, possibly, the safety requirements for its geologic disposal can be reduced compared with the current once-through fuel cycle. To make the technologically complex enterprise worthwhile, a reduction in the HLW radiotoxicity by a factor of at least one hundred is desirable. This requires very effective reactor and fuel cycle strategies, including fast reactors (FRs) and/or accelerator-driven, sub-critical systems. The accelerator-driven system (ADS) has recently been receiving increased attention due to its potential to improve the flexibility and safety characteristics of transmutation systems.

The present study compares FR- and ADS-based actinide transmutation systems with respect to reactor properties, fuel cycle requirements, economic aspects, and R&D needs. The essential differences between the various systems are evaluated with the help of a number of representative "fuel cycle schemes". The strategies investigated include an evolutionary transmutation strategy in which the ADS provides additional flexibility by enabling plutonium utilisation in conventional reactors and confining the minor actinides to a small part of the fuel cycle, and two innovative transuranics (TRU) burning strategies, with an FR or an ADS, in which plutonium and minor actinides are managed together to minimise the proliferation risk. A novelty in the present study is that the analyses are carried out in a consistent manner using reactor and fuel cycle parameters which have been agreed upon by international experts.

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Table of contents

Foreword (52 kb)

Executive summary (133 kb)

Note de synthèse (139 kb)

1. Introduction (310 kb)

2. Transmutation strategies (34 kb)

3. Comparative analysis (310 kb)

4. Accelerator-driven System (ADS) and Fast Reactor (FR) technologies (414 kb)

5. Fast Reactor (FR) and Accelerator-driven System (ADS) safety (268 kb)

6. Cost analysis of P&T (273 kb)

7. R&D needs (34 kb)

8. Fission product transmutation (124 kb)

9. Alternative actinide transmutation approaches (34 kb)

10. Conclusions (79 kb)

References (34 kb)


Annex A. List of Expert Group members (52 kb)

Annex B. Acronyms (61 kb)

Annex C. History of P&T studies in OECD/NEA Member countries and international organisations (87 kb)

Annex D. Dose conversion factors based on ICRP-1990 Recommendations (56 kb)

Annex E. Comparison of MA transmutation effectiveness in different fuels and coolant systems (113 kb)

Annex F. Overview of national and international ADS programmes (612 kb)

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