J. Phys. IV France 09 (1999) Pr7-73-Pr7-89
Thorium fuel cycles compared to uranium fuel cyclesT.H. Pigford
Department of Nuclear Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, U.S.A.
This paper compares the material quantities and radioactive properties of thorium fuel cycles for various types of nuclear power plants with similar results for uranium fueling. Thorium resources exceed those of uranium. Reactors can convert thorium to fissile uranium-233, making breeding possible with thermal neutrons. Thorium fuel cycles require a separate fissile source, such as U-235 or Pu-239, to start first-generation thorium breeders or to fuel non-breeding reactors. Thorium-uranium-fueled converter reactors consume more uranium than thorium. Toxicity of high-level waste from thorium fueling can exceed that for uranium fueling.
© EDP Sciences 1999