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Report No.

VHTR Deep Burn applications

Richards, M.*; Venneri, F.*; Shimakawa, Satoshi

A key feature of the Very High Temperature Reactor (VHTR) is its use of ceramic, coated-particle fuel that can be irradiated at very high temperatures to very high burnup. In this paper we describe applications for deep-burn VHTRS (DB-VHTRs) using Pu, transuranic (TRU), and mixed oxide (MOX) fuels. One application is efficient and economic disposition of surplus weapons-grade Pu (WPu). A DB-VHTR using WPu fuel can consume about 65% of the WPu and about 90% of the Pu- 239 in a single pass through the core (corresponding to approximately 600 GWt-d/t). Comparable levels of burnup can be achieved using TRU material recovered from light water reactor (LWR) spent fuel. DB-VHTRs can also be deployed with Fast Breeder Reactors (FBRs) in a completely closed fuel cycle to provide both sustainability of nuclear fuel resources and flexible energy outputs, including hydrogen production and other process-heat applications.



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