Other Fuel Types

The focus here has been on UO2, which is the usual fuel for LWRs. Other fuel types are of interest, however, even if not widely used at present (see, e.g., Ref. [1]). Possibilities include the following:

♦ Mixed-oxide fuel (MOX). MOX fuel, a mixture of uranium and plutonium oxides, uses plutonium in order to exploit its energy content, reduce the stocks of potential weapons materials, or both (see Section 9.4.2).

♦ Metal alloy fuels. Metallic fuel, in the form of alloys of uranium, provide an alternative to oxide fuels that is easier to reprocess.

♦ Microsphere fuel particles. High-temperature gas-cooled reactors utilize uranium or thorium oxide in the form of very small spheres, with multiple layers of outer protection. These are the so-called TRISO fuel particles (see Section 16.4.3).

♦ Thorium fuels. A fuel cycle based on thorium-232 as the fertile fuel and uranium-233 as the fissile fuel could be used to supplement uranium resources. It has the advantage of producing little plutonium and thereby lessening waste disposal and proliferation problems.

Molten salt. Although all operating commercial reactors presently use fuel in solid form, it is also possible to have the fuel as a liquid uranium fluoride, mixed with other liquid fluorides, as would be done in the proposed molten salt reactor (see Section 16.6.1).

Continue reading here: Basic Unit for Burnup GWDT per MTHM

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