The use of (Th, Pu, U)O 2 fuel in a water-water energy reactor WWER-1000

I. V. Shamanin, A. A. Ukhov, S. V. Kriger

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Citation (Scopus)


One of the main problems of contemporary nuclear industry is the problem of fuel. Explored resources of uranium, which can be used as a fuel in nuclear non-breeding reactors, may satisfy the needs of nuclear industry within 30-40 years. Breeding reactors have serious disadvantages, and one of the main is production of weapon grade plutonium. After the end of the Cold War, the world's nuclear states have faced the problem of utilization of weapon grade plutonium, which was produced in huge quantities. Perhaps, the most efficient and safe way is using of plutonium, extracted from nuclear weapon-heads, as a part of complex oxide fuel in combination with thorium. The conception of nuclear reactor, which uses thorium as a fuel, was firstly suggested by A. Radkovsky in early 90-s (so-called RTR). Preliminary evaluation of construction of such reactor on the basis of standard Russian lightwater energy reactor WWER-1000 was made by the research group of N.Ponomarev-Stepnoy from Kurchatov Research Center. Researchers from the department of physics of Tomsk Polytechnic University, have made physical calculations and computer modeling of using of thorium-plutonium oxide fuel in standard reactor WWER-1000. The scheme of fuel loading and fuel assemblies moving within the burn-up campaign allows to use energy reactor WWER-1000 without any changes in the construction of reactor core, control and regulation systems. Fuel elements are made of thorium-plutonium alloy. There have been calculated four variants of fuel management schemes for 3-cycle, 4-cycle and 5-cycle burn-up campaigns. At the end of every cycle used fuel assemblies are partly unloaded and then replaced by new "fresh" fuel. Using the complex thorium-plutonium fuel gives plenty of advantages. It reduces the cost of energy by decreasing the cost of fuel elements' production, because some part of fissile materials (U-233) are produced right in the reactor core and burned up with no intermediate stage at all. Thorium resources are big enough to postpone the solution of fuel problems of nuclear industry for decades. Isotope structure and amount of unloaded fuel is far less dangerous than those of contemporary energy reactors. And the main advantage of using plutonium in complex fuel with thorium is that one energy reactor WWER-1000 utilizes approximately 44 tons of weapon grade plutonium within 40 years.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransactions of the American Nuclear Society
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2001
EventWinter Meeting of the American Nuclear Society, 2001 - Reno, NV, United States
Duration: 11 Nov 200115 Nov 2001


OtherWinter Meeting of the American Nuclear Society, 2001
CountryUnited States
CityReno, NV

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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