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Topic Title: theEngineer has just produced an article on the PRISM fast reactor
Topic Summary: What are the other options for getting rid of our Plutonium stockpile?
Created On: 14 May 2013 12:08 PM
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 14 May 2013 12:08 PM
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Joined: 05 September 2004

"Prism project: A proposal for the UK's problem plutonium"

Since the failed consultation on siting an underground nuclear waste storage facility in Cumbria, reprocessing and then burying our Plutonium stockpile is now no longer a vaible option politically. The available options for burning up the plutonium are:

a) Reprocessing Plutonium into MOX fuel for 3rd Generation Nuclear Reactors.
b) Reprocessing Plutonium to be "burnt" in a fast neutron reactor (e.g. using Sodium or Molten Salt or Helium gas cooling)
b) Reprocessing Plutonium to be "burnt" in a thermal neutron reactor (e.g. using a Thorium Molten Salt Reactor)

Even if new 3rd generation reactors are built (which is extremely unlikely now) they are not necessarily going to be able to burn MOX fuel. The EPR would need to repeat large parts of the GDA process and incorporate design changes to be able to use MOX fuel. We would also need a new MOX fuel manufacturing and fabrication plant.

A MOX burning variant of Hitachi's ABWR is currently under construction in Japan.

I am not sure if Hitachi will be applying to get a MOX burning ABWR reactor through the GDA process or not. Does anyone else know?

Anyway the final two options are fourth generation reactor choices which need further research and development. The costs of reprocessing the fuel/waste at both the front and back end of the reactors need to be compared, not just the main reactor costs.

James Arathoon

James Arathoon

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