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Sustainability 2012, 4(8), 1933-1945; doi:10.3390/su4081933

Core Design and Deployment Strategy of Heavy Water Cooled Sustainable Thorium Reactor

1,*  and 2
1 Department of Nuclear Safety Engineering, Tokyo City University, Tokyo, Japan 2 Department of Nuclear Engineering, Tokai University Tokyo, Japan
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 14 June 2012 / Revised: 23 July 2012 / Accepted: 10 August 2012 / Published: 22 August 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Nuclear Energy)
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Our previous studies on water cooled thorium breeder reactor based on matured pressurized water reactor (PWR) plant technology concluded that reduced moderated core by arranging fuel pins in a triangular tight lattice array and using heavy water as coolant is appropriate for achieving better breeding performance and higher burn-up simultaneously [1–6]. One optimum core that produces 3.5 GW thermal energy using Th-233U oxide fuel shows a breeding ratio of 1.07 and averaged burn-up of about 80 GWd/t with long cycle length of 1300 days. The moderator to fuel volume ratio is 0.6 and required enrichment of 233U for the fresh fuel is about 7%. The coolant reactivity coefficient is negative during all cycles despite it being a large scale breeder reactor. In order to introduce this sustainable thorium reactor, three-step deployment scenario, with intermediate transition phase between current light water reactor (LWR) phase and future sustainer phase, is proposed. Both in transition phase and sustainer phase, almost the same core design can be applicable only by changing fissile materials mixed with thorium from plutonium to 233U with slight modification in the fuel assembly design. Assuming total capacity of 60 GWe in current LWR phase and reprocessing capacity of 800 ton/y with further extensions to 1600 ton/y, all LWRs will be replaced by heavy water cooled thorium reactors within about one century then thorium reactors will be kept operational owing to its potential to sustain fissile fuels while reprocessing all spent fuels until exhaustion of massive thorium resource.
Keywords: thorium; heavy water; deployment scenario; transition; sustainer; 233U thorium; heavy water; deployment scenario; transition; sustainer; 233U
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Takaki, N.; Mardiansah, D. Core Design and Deployment Strategy of Heavy Water Cooled Sustainable Thorium Reactor. Sustainability 2012, 4, 1933-1945.

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