National Academies Press: OpenBook

Review of DOE's Nuclear Energy Research and Development Program (2008)

Chapter: Appendix B: Minority Opinion: An Alternative to Technology Proposed for GNEP, Offered by Levy, Kazimi, and Dally

« Previous: Appendix A: Minority Opinion: Dissenting Statement of Gilinsky and Macfarlane
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Minority Opinion: An Alternative to Technology Proposed for GNEP, Offered by Levy, Kazimi, and Dally." National Research Council. 2008. Review of DOE's Nuclear Energy Research and Development Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11998.
×

B
Minority Opinion: An Alternative to Technology Proposed for GNEP, Offered by Levy, Kazimi, and Dally

Inert fuel is made of transuranics and an inert material such as zirconium oxide. By not including a fertile material such as uranium, the transuranics are reduced by irradiation in a power reactor. The transuranic inert matrix fuel (IMF) occupies only part of the nuclear core of a light water reactor (LWR). Matrix fuel has been studied extensively in the rest of the world and we are particularly interested in once-through IMF, an idea considered in many other countries, which could be much more economical than the GNEP plan to use sodium fast burner reactors.

The thermal recycling of transuranics from LWR spent fuel IMF should be given priority over multiple recycling in sodium fast reactors, for several reasons:

  • Considerable work, including irradiation, has been carried out in many countries, as summarized in IAEA-TEC-DOC-1516, issued in August 2006. This gives the United States the opportunity to join a significant ongoing effort.

  • The United States has the necessary development facility—the Advanced Test Reactor—to confirm the development of IMF and the operating LWR to validate IMF performance through lead fuel assemblies. There is no need to wait for an Advanced Burner Reactor, its licensing, costs, and long-term availability.

  • Work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has shown that the use of IMF in LWR with 20 percent of the fuel assembly pins replaced with IMF pins leads to important reductions in the accumulation of transuranics (TRUs) and confirms early waste benefits encouraged in AFCI 2006.

  • GNEP has emphasized the need to avoid TRUs from reaching the U.S. repository, but it failed to recognize the plan to store defense wastes in that same repository, which will set a performance floor in dose reduction at the repository. A risk-informed approach (which is badly needed) would suggest that the GNEP plans to pursue extreme recycling are unnecessary.

  • From an economic viewpoint, the capital cost and the fuel cycle costs are higher for fast reactors than for LWRs.

  • It is recognized that IMF still requires much development, but the effort required is considerably less than that for the selected GNEP strategy.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Minority Opinion: An Alternative to Technology Proposed for GNEP, Offered by Levy, Kazimi, and Dally." National Research Council. 2008. Review of DOE's Nuclear Energy Research and Development Program. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11998.
×
Page 77
Next: Appendix C: Biographical Sketches for Committee Members »
Review of DOE's Nuclear Energy Research and Development Program Get This Book
×
Buy Paperback | $38.00 Buy Ebook | $30.99
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

There has been a substantial resurgence of interest in nuclear power in the United States over the past few years. One consequence has been a rapid growth in the research budget of DOE's Office of Nuclear Energy (NE). In light of this growth, the Office of Management and Budget included within the FY2006 budget request a study by the National Academy of Sciences to review the NE research programs and recommend priorities among those programs. The programs to be evaluated were: Nuclear Power 2010 (NP 2010), Generation IV (GEN IV), the Nuclear Hydrogen Initiative (NHI), the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP)/Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative (AFCI), and the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) facilities. This book presents a description and analysis of each program along with specific findings and recommendations. It also provides an assessment of program priorities and oversight.

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    Switch between the Original Pages, where you can read the report as it appeared in print, and Text Pages for the web version, where you can highlight and search the text.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  9. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!