This paper aims at finding solutions of so important problems of nuclear power as decreasing the scope and the number of technological operations, as well as enhancing the proliferation resistance of fissile materials in nuclear fuel cycle by means of minimal changes in the cycle. The method is including fusion neutron sources with thorium blanket into future nuclear power system. In addition to production of light uranium fraction consisting of 233U and 234U, high-energy 14-MeV neutrons emitted in the process of fusion (D,T)-reaction can generate 231Pa and 232U through (n,2n)- and (n,3n)-reactions.
It has been demonstrated that admixture of 231Pa into fresh fuel composition can stabilize its neutron-multiplying properties thanks to two well-fissile consecutive isotopes 232U and 233U, products of radiative neutron capture by 231Pa. Coupled system of two well-fissile isotopes can allow us to reach the following goals: the higher fuel burn-up and, as a consequence, the longer fuel lifetime; the shorter scope and the lower number of technological operations in nuclear fuel cycle; the better economic potential of nuclear power technologies. Such a fuel cycle presumes shifting from 235U to 233U as more attractive fuel material for thermal nuclear reactors. Uranium component will be protected from unauthorized proliferation by the presence of light uranium isotope 232U. The use of well-mastered traditional uranium-based fuels in power LWR will be preserved. The idea suggests fresh fuel fabrication for power LWR without applications of isotope separation technologies.
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|Country/Int. organization||Russian Federation|
|Affiliation/Organization||National Research Nuclear University MEPhI|