Tru-fueled VHTRs: Design, performance, and applications
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The Very High Temperature Reactor (VHTR) is the nearest Generation IV concept. This paper presents results of the U.S. DOE NERI Project on utilization of higher actinides (TRUs and partitioned MAs) as a fuel component for extended-life VHTR configurations. The idea is to approach autonomous operation on a single fuel loading that would allow marketing power units with VHTRs as nuclear batteries for worldwide deployment. The research focus is on possible designs and their advantages and limitations. The project is currently within its third year of studies. Although indicating some technical limitations and challenges, studies of VHTRs with TRUs/MAs definitely suggest promising performance and possibility to utilize the core configurations with TRUs/MAs gaining prolonged operation and self-sustainability.