Optimized transition from the reactors of second and third generations to the Thorium Molten Salt Reactor

Abstract : Molten salt reactors, in the configuration presented here and called Thorium Molten Salt Reactor (TMSR), are particularly well suited to fulfil the criteria chosen by the Generation IV forum, and may be operated in simplified and safe conditions in the Th/233U fuel cycle with fluoride salts. Amongst all MSR configurations in the thorium cycle, many studies have highlighted the configurations with no moderator in the core as simple and very promising. Since 233U does not exist on earth and is not being produced today, we aim at designing a critical MSR able to burn the Plutonium and the Minor Actinides produced in the current operating reactors, and consequently to convert this Plutonium into 233U. This leads to closing the current fuel cycle thanks to TMSRs started with transuranic elements on a Thorium base, i.e. started in the Th/Pu fuel cycle, similarly to fast neutron reactors operated in the U/Pu fuel cycle. We will detail optimizations of this transition between the reactors of second and third generations to the Thorium cycle. Such a transition is based on a fleet of TMSRs with no moderator in the core, including TMSRs started with Plutonium and TMSRs directly started with 233U. We developed parametric studies to optimize these TMSRs, amongst which the study presented here, based on one of the main TMSR parameters: the percentage of heavy nuclei in the fuel salt of the TMSR configuration, which modifies the moderation ratio of the reactor and thus influences both the initial fissile inventory and the spectrum of the reactor. We analyze the characteristics of each reactorconfiguration, in terms of deterministic safety parameters, fissile matter inventory, salt reprocessing, radiotoxicity and waste production, and finally deployment capacities.
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E. Merle-Lucotte, D. Heuer, M. Allibert, V. Ghetta, C. Le Brun, et al.. Optimized transition from the reactors of second and third generations to the Thorium Molten Salt Reactor. ICAPP 2007 : International Congress on Advances in Nuclear Power Plants, May 2007, Nice, France. 7186 (9 p.). ⟨in2p3-00135149⟩

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