Synergistic spent nuclear fuel dynamics within the European Union

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The French 2012–2015 Commission Nationale d'Evaluation Reports emphasize preparation for a transition from Light Water Reactors (LWRs) to Sodium-Cooled Fast Reactors (SFRs). We used the CYCLUS nuclear fuel cycle simulator to explore the feasibility of enabling a French transition to an SFR fleet by using Used Nuclear Fuel (UNF) from other European Union (EU) nations. A CYCLUS simulation captured nuclear power deployment in the EU from 1970 to 2160. In this simulation, France begins its planned transition to SFRs as existing LWRs are decommissioned. These SFRs are fueled with UNF accumulated by other EU nations and reprocessed in France. The impact of reactor lifetime extensions and SFR breeding ratios on time-to-transition were investigated with additional simulations. These simulations demonstrate that France can avoid deployment of additional LWRs by accepting UNF from other EU nations, that lifetime extensions delay time-to-transition, and improved breeding ratios are not particularly impactful.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalProgress in Nuclear Energy
StatePublished - Jul 2019


  • Agent-based
  • European union
  • Nuclear fuel cycle
  • Simulation
  • Spent nuclear fuel
  • Transition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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