A road map for the realization of global-scale thorium breeding fuel cycle by single molten-fluoride flow

Kazuo Furukawa, Kazuto Arakawa, L. Berrin Erbay, Yasuhiko Ito, Yoshio Kato, Hanna Kiyavitskaya, Alfred Lecocq, Koshi Mitachi, Ralph Moir, Hiroo Numata, J. Paul Pleasant, Yuzuru Sato, Yoichiro Shimazu, Vadim A. Simonenco, Din Dayal Sood, Carlos Urban, Ritsuo Yoshioka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

80 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

For global survival, we need to launch a rapid regeneration of the nuclear power industry. The replacement of the present fossil fuel industry requires a doubling time for alternative energy sources of 5-7 years and only nuclear energy has the capability to achieve this. The liquid metal cooled fast breeder reactors (LMFBR) have the best breeding criteria but the doubling time exceeds 20 years. Further, the use of plutonium in these systems has the potential of nuclear proliferation. The Thorium Molten-Salt Nuclear Energy Synergetic System [THORIMS-NES], described here is a symbiotic system, based on the thorium-uranium-233 cycle. The production of trans-uranium elements is essentially absent in Th-U system, which simplifies the issue of nuclear waste management. The use of 233U contaminated with 232U as fissile material, instead of plutonium/235U makes this system nuclear proliferation resistant. The energy is produced in molten-salt reactors (FUJI) and fissile 233U is produced by spallation in Accelerator Molten-Salt Breeders (AMSB). This system uses the multi-functional "single-phase molten-fluoride" circulation system for all operations. There are no difficulties relating to "radiation-damage", "heat-removal" and "chemical processing" owing to the simple "idealistic ionic liquid" character of the fuel. FUJI is size-flexible, and can use all kinds of fissile material achieving a nearly fuel self-sustaining condition without continuous chemical processing of fuel salt and without core-graphite replacement for the life of the reactor. The AMSB is based on a single-fluid molten-salt target/blanket concept. Several AMSBs can be accommodated in regional centers for the production of fissile 233U, with batch chemical processing including radio-waste management. FUJI reactor and the AMSB can also be used for the transmutation of long-lived radioactive elements in the wastes and has a high potential for producing hydrogen-fuel in molten-salt reactors. The development and launching of THORIMS-NES requires the following three programs during the next three decades: (A) pilot-plant: miniFUJI (7-10 MWe), (B) small power reactor: FUJI-Pu (100-300 MWe), (C) fissile producer: AMSB for globally deploying THORIMS-NES.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1832-1848
Number of pages17
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
Volume49
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Jul

Keywords

  • Accelerator breeder
  • Fission energy
  • Fluorides
  • Molten-salt reactor
  • Spallation reaction
  • Thorium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology

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  • Cite this

    Furukawa, K., Arakawa, K., Erbay, L. B., Ito, Y., Kato, Y., Kiyavitskaya, H., Lecocq, A., Mitachi, K., Moir, R., Numata, H., Pleasant, J. P., Sato, Y., Shimazu, Y., Simonenco, V. A., Sood, D. D., Urban, C., & Yoshioka, R. (2008). A road map for the realization of global-scale thorium breeding fuel cycle by single molten-fluoride flow. Energy Conversion and Management, 49(7), 1832-1848. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enconman.2007.09.027