J. Phys. IV France
Volume 09, Numéro PR7, July 1999
Proceedings of the Workshop Innovative Options in the Field of Nuclear Fission Energy
Page(s) Pr7-35 - Pr7-55
Proceedings of the Workshop Innovative Options in the Field of Nuclear Fission Energy

J. Phys. IV France 09 (1999) Pr7-35-Pr7-55

DOI: 10.1051/jp4:1999703

Sustained nuclear energy without weapons or reprocessing using accelerator-driven systems

C.D. Bowman

The ADNA Corporation, 1045 Los Pueblos, Los Alamos, NM 87544, U.S.A.

Accelerator-driven thermal-spectrum molten-salt nuclear technology can greatly simplify nuclear energy technology by eliminating reprocessing and greatly enhancing oncethrough burn-up. In effect the accelerator may be employed as a substitute for frequent reprocessing and recycle. The accelerator makes possible reduction in plutonium and minor actinides from current LWRs by a factor of more than ten without reprocessing while converting the plutonium remnant to a non-weapons-useful isotopic composition. The accelerator also enhances the once-through energy production from fertile material by a factor of ten without reprocessing compared to once-through LWR technology. Thistechnology would eliminate the need to deploy plutonium production indefinitely, and reprocessing and recycle for at least several hundred years. The energy production technology proposed here operates primarily on the Th-U cycle with a minor contribution from the U-Pu cycle to eliminate the weapons-usefulness of 233U . There are two key innovations in addition to the accelerator. One is the use of liquid fuel flowing once through a pool of material undergoing fission thereby allowing high burn-up concurrently with continuous removal of fission product without reprocessing. The second is the unanticipated low capture cross section of fission product nuclides which substantially enhances the neutron economy in this type of system. The supplement of neutrons from the accelerator, the reduced fission product neutron capture, and the continuously flowing fuel are the enablers for the performance described here. This technology allows an essentially complete decoupling of nuclear energy from nuclear weapons

© EDP Sciences 1999