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Research on nitride fuel for transmutation of minor actinides

マイナーアクチノイドの核変換用窒化物燃料の研究

湊 和生 ; 荒井 康夫; 赤堀 光雄; 中島 邦久 

Minato, Kazuo; Arai, Yasuo; Akabori, Mitsuo; Nakajima, Kunihisa

原研では、加速器駆動炉を用いたマイナーアクチノイドの核変換処理概念を提案しており、そこでは窒化物燃料を候補としている。窒化物燃料は、アクチノイド相互の固溶性に優れ、熱伝導率が高いとともに、硬い中性子スペクトルを実現できる。炭素-14の生成を避けるために窒素-15を用いる必要があるが、燃料の再処理に高温化学法を適用することにより、窒素-15を再利用することができる。ここでは、原研で行ってきた、窒化物燃料の調製試験,特性評価試験、及び照射試験についてまとめた。

In the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute (JAERI), the concept of the transmutation of minor actinides (MA: Np, Am and Cm) with accelerator-driven systems (ADS) is being studied, where MA nitride is adopted as a fuel material of sub-critical core. The nitride fuel has been chosen as a candidate because of the possible mutual solubility among the actinide mononitrides and excellent thermal properties besides supporting hard neutron spectrum. Highly enriched N-15 would have to be used for the nitride fuel in order to prevent the formation of hazardous C-14. By applying pyrochemical process in the treatment of spent fuel, N-15 could be readily recovered and recycled. The present paper describes an overview of the research on the nitride fuel performed in JAERI. Fabrication experiments of actinide nitrides, measurements of vaporization behavior and thermal properties, and irradiation tests of actinide nitrides are summarized.

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