The role of a fusion-fission hybrid in the context of a nuclear economy with and without reprocessing is examined. An inertial confinement fusion driver is assumed and a consistent set of reactor parameters are developed. The form of the driver is not critical, however, to the general concepts. The use of the hybrid as a fuel factory within a secured fuel production and reprocessing center is considered. Either the hybrid or a low power fission reactor can be used to mildly irradiate fuel prior to shipment to offsite reactors thereby rendering the fuel resistant to diversion. A simplified economic analysis indicates a hybrid providing fuel to 10 fission reactors of equal thermal power is insensitive to the recirculating power fraction provided reprocessing is permitted. If reprocessing is not allowed, the hybrid can be used to directly enrich light water reactor fuel bundles fabricated initially from fertile fuel (either ThO2 or 238UO2). A detailed neutronic analysis indicates such direct enrichment is feasible but the support ratio for 233U or 239Pu production is only 2, making such an approach highly sensitive to the hybrid cost. The hybrid would have to produce considerable net power for economic feasibility in this case. Inertial confinement fusion performance requirements for hybrid application are also examined and an integrated design, SOLASE-H, is described based upon the direct enrichment concept.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- Nuclear Energy and Engineering
- Materials Science(all)
- Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
- Waste Management and Disposal
- Mechanical Engineering