Energy crisis continues to present seemingly insurmountable challenges to every nation on earth, and the need to become energy sufficient and independent is one the key requirements in many countries’ national policy formulation. Faced with this problem, many nations are turning to nuclear power as a means of meeting this challenge.
Nuclear energy sources are safe, reliable and economical when compared to other sources of energy. However the issues of how to properly handle used fuel materials generated in nuclear fuel cycle remain. One of the proposed solutions to the issue of waste volume is to transition from once through nuclear fuel cycle to advanced fuel cycles with used fuel recycling option. In any advanced fuel cycles with recycling options, the type and amount of separation technology deployed play a crucial role in the overall performance of the fuel cycle.
In this work, a scenario study involving two advanced fuel cycles in addition to the once through fuel cycle were evaluated using VISION nuclear fuel cycle simulation code. The advanced fuel cycles were setup to transition completely to full recycling without any light water reactor by assuming all light water reactor (LWR) currently in operation will have 20 years of operating life extension and no new LWR will be constructed thereafter. Several different separation capacities were deployed and the overall impact of these capacities was analyzed in terms of resources utilization, used fuel and waste material generated and the amount of storage space required. Economic parameter (LCOE, LFCC, etc) analysis was also performed