A Methodology to Evaluate Nuclear Waste Transmutation/Fuel Cycle Systems

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Title: A Methodology to Evaluate Nuclear Waste Transmutation/Fuel Cycle Systems
Author: Li, Jun
Advisors: Dr. David N. McNelis, Committee Member
Dr. Paul J. Turinsky, Committee Member
Dr. Robert E. Young, Committee Member
Dr. Man-sung Yim, Committee Chair
Abstract: The nuclear waste issue is a major challenge to the nuclear energy industry. To reduce the nuclear waste impact, a number of advanced nuclear fuel cycles and transmutation schemes are being investigated. Reported herein is a methodology which was developed to evaluate and compare nuclear fuel cycles based on repository performance, proliferation resistance performance and fuel cycle cost. To evaluate the repository performance efficiently, a simplified repository performance model was developed based on the Yucca Mountain Repository. By considering the temperature limits at different locations in the repository, maximum loading is estimated for given nuclear waste characteristics. The enrivonmental impact from the maximum loaded reprository is investigated in term of projected dose and health index based on accumulated risk. A fuzzy logic based barrier method was developed to assess the proliferation resistance of three different nuclear fuel cycles. This model gives quantitative proliferation resistance information from the beginning to the end of a full fuel cycle. A simple fuel cycle cost model was also used. Based on assumed nonproliferation charges, an adjusted fuel cycle cost was evaluated which included the impact from repository and proliferation resistance performance to the overall fuel cycle cost. A case study investigates the three fuel cycles: PWR-OT (Pressurized Water Reactor-Once Through), MOX (Mixed Oxide) and DUPIC (Direct Use of spent PWR fuel in CANDU). The PWR-OT cycle provides the highest level of proliferation resistance and lowest fuel cycle cost while the DUPIC cycle provides for maximum repository loading (based on the total electricity generated). The adjusted fuel cycle cost was found to be an inadequate means of combining repository impact, proliferation resistance, and cost to affect fuel cycle selection decisions. An alternative method of using an adjusted total electricity generation cost is presented.
Date: 2007-04-24
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Nuclear Engineering
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/5049

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