Estimation of neutronic performance of fast traveling wave reactor in Th-U fuel cycle
The possibility of using nearly all of the uranium or thorium fuel is expected in traveling wave reactors. A traveling wave reactor core with a fast neutron spectrum in a thorium-uranium cycle has been simulated numerically. The reactor core has the shape of a rectangular prism with the ignition zone arranged at one of its ends for forming a neutron-fission wave. Highly enriched uranium metal is used as the ignition zone fuel. Calculated power density dependences and concentrations of nuclides taking part in the transformation chain along the core length at a number of time points have been obtained. The results were graphically processed for the illustrative demonstration of the neutron-fission wave occurrence and transmission in the reactor. The obtained power density dependence is a soliton (solitary wave) featuring a clear time repeatability property. Neutron spectra and fission densities are shown at the initial time point when no wave has yet been formed and at the time of its formation. The wave velocity was calculated based on which the reactor life has been estimated. The fuel burn-up has been estimated the ultra-high value of which makes the proposed reactor concept hard to implement. The burn-up of most of both the raw material and the fissile material produced from it indicates a high potential efficiency of the developed reactor concept in terms of fuel utilization, as well as in terms of nuclear nonproliferation.
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