Szakaly, Frank Joseph (2003-05). Assessment of uranium-free nitride fuels for spent fuel transmutation in fast reactor systems. Master's Thesis.
The purpose of this work is to investigate the implementation of nitride fuels containing little or no uranium in a fast-spectrum nuclear reactor to reduce the amount of plutonium and minor actinides in spent nuclear fuel destined for the Yucca Mountain Repository. A two tier recycling strategy is proposed. Thermal spectrum transmutation systems converted from the existing LWR fleet were modeled for the first tier, and the Japanese fast reactor MONJU was used for the fast-spectrum transmutation. The modeling was performed with the Monteburns code. Transmutation performance was investigated as well as delayed neutron fraction, heat generation rates, and radioactivity of the spent material in the short and long term for the different transmutation fuel cycles. A two-tier recycling strategy incorporating fast and thermal transmutation with uranium-free nitride fuel was shown to reduce the long-term heat generation rates and radioactivity of the spent nuclear fuel inventory.