Radionuclide neutron source trajectories in the closed nuclear fuel cycle

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The highest efficiency in the usage of nuclear energy resources can be implemented in fast breeder reactors of generation IV. It is achieved thanks to the ability of consuming minor actinides (MAs) in energy production. One of the options to use this benefit is full recycling of MAs to close the nuclear fuel cycle. Monte Carlo burn up (MCB), an integrated burn-up calculation code, deals with the complexity of the burn-up process which is applied to the European Lead-cooled Fast Reactor (ELFR). MCB uses continuous energy representation of cross section and spatial effects of full core reactor model; however, it automatically calculates nuclide production in all possible reactions or decay channels. Multi-recycling of MAs can cause an intensified build-up of curium, berkelium and californium. Some of their isotopes are strong neutron emitters from spontaneous fission, which hinders fuel recycling. The implementation of a novel methodology for trajectory period folding allows us to trace the life cycle of crucial MAs from the beginning of the reactor life towards the state of adiabatic equilibrium. The result of the analysis performed is presented, showing the sources of strong contribution to the neutron production rate. The parametric sensitivity analysis method for selected nuclide reactions is applied, revealing sensitivity of transmutation chains for the production of neutron emitter isotopes.

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The Journal of Instytut Chemii i Techniki Jadrowej

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