The formidable technical problems involved in the design of a full-scale commercial fast reactor have resulted in the introduction of this system lagging behind that of the thermal reactor by two to three decades. Despite these obstacles, there is a worldwide interest in the fast breeder because of its high potential utilization of uranium fuel, based on the high η value of Pu239 in the fast neutron spectrum, coupled with the bonus arising from the fast fission of U238 and Pu240 by the significant proportion of neutrons above the fission threshold energy (see Fig. 2.9). The production of more Pu239 (by conversion of U238) than is consumed in the operation of the reactor leads to a dramatic reduction in the demands for fissile material, thus conserving uranium stocks and making the electricity generation costs almost insensitive to the price of uranium. The small size of the plant, due to the high power density of the fast reactor, is also seen as contributing to good economics by reduction of capital cost.
KeywordsFast Reactor Fuel Element Thermal Reactor Liquid Sodium Fissile Material
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