SUBJECT: Ph.D. Proposal Presentation
BY: Christopher Sommer
TIME: Wednesday, December 1, 2010, 3:00 p.m.
PLACE: Boggs, 3-28
TITLE: Subcritircal Transmutation of Spent Nuclear Fuel
COMMITTEE: Dr. Weston Stacey, Chair (NRE)
Dr. Nolan Hertel (NRE)
Dr. Ed Hoffman (Argonne National Lab)
Dr. Bojan Petrovic (NRE)
Dr. Farzad Rahnema (NRE)
Dr. Adam Stulberg (International Affairs)


The forecast for increased power generation through nuclear power in the next 30 years magnifies the issue of spent nuclear fuel disposal. The current option of the once through cycle will require multiple repositories in the next 45 years. This study looks into transmutation of spent nuclear fuel and closing the fuel cycle via a fusion fission hybrid reactor. The fusion fission hybrid reactor utilized in this study is SABR: Subcritical Advanced Burner Reactor. SABR is a 3000 MWth sodium cooled reactor with a fusion neutron source based on ITER physics. Various fuel cycles for SABR will be designed and analyzed in the study. An investigation into the effect of radiation damage on cycle length and the impact to the repository is performed. The effect of fuel type a TRU burning fuel (Pu + Minor Actinides) and a pure minor actinide burning core will be analyzed. The effect of fuel choice, whether oxide or metal, on the isotopic burn rate will also be analyzed. This thesis will focus on examining a fuel cycle for a fission-fusion hybrid reactor that achieves a high burn up limited by radiation damage with a relatively flat power distribution. The study examines and quantifies the type of fuel cycle that can be obtained with a variable strength fusion neutron source that can be available in the next 25-30 years.