A new approach to spent nuclear fuel recycling for light water reactors in the frame of remix concept
Simulation and review of the nuclear fuel cycles with mixed uranium-plutonium fuel – REMIX was carried out. The concept of REMIX fuel is one of the options for closing the nuclear fuel cycle (NFC), which allows for the recycling of uranium and plutonium in VVER-1000⁄1200 light-water reactors at 100% loading of the reactor core. A new approach to the recycling of nuclear materials in light-water reactors is proposed. The approach will make it possible to simplify the fabrication of mixed fuel using plutonium in high concentration together with enriched natural uranium, while reprocessed uranium is supposed to be enriched and used separately. The share of standard fuel from enriched natural uranium in this nuclear fuel cycle is more than 50%, the share of mixed fuel (natUEn + Pu) is 25% and the rest is fuel from enriched reprocessed uranium. It is noted that the new approach has the maximum economic prospect for organizing the production of this fuel and cross-cycling of nuclear materials at the facilities available in the Russian Federation in the near future. This NFC option eliminates the accumulation of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) in the form of spent fuel assemblies. SNF is always reprocessed with the aim of further using the primary regenerate of uranium and plutonium. Non-recyclable in light-water reactors, burnt, re-reprocessed uranium, the energy potential of which is comparable to natural uranium, as well as secondary plutonium intended for further use in fast neutron reactors, are sent as by-products of processing to the storage area.
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