[ RadSafe ] New Concepts in Nuclear Power

George Stanford gstanford at aya.yale.edu
Sat Mar 21 09:00:18 CDT 2009


         And then there's a project that I was part of -- the IFR 
(Integral Fast Reactor).  For those who don't know, the IFR is a 
metal-fueled fast reactor coupled with pyroprocessing to recycle the 
fuel, and it has the potential to do the following:

--  Consume almost all the transuranics that are left over from 
thermal reactors, producing as waste, per GW-yr, only one ton of 
fission products containing trace amounts of TRU.  The activity of 
the waste decays to inconsequential levels within 500 years.

--  Operate as a net consumer of TRU, or a net breeder of fissile 
material (Pu), or in a break-even mode.

--  Extract from the used LWR fuel twenty time as much energy as the LWR got.

--  Burn the "waste" from any reactor whose used fuel can be 
economically reprocessed (which might or might not exclude pebble-bed 

--  Make it economical to use very low-grade ore, the result being 
that uranium becomes a truly inexhaustible energy resource.

--  Power the world for centuries on the uranium that has already been mined

--  Power the world forever without the need to enrich any more uranium.

--  By using DU as fuel, extract more than a hundred times more 
energy from the mined uranium than we get now.

--  Eventually segregate all existing plutonium in operating reactor 
facilities, behind heavy shielding, where it is mixed with other 
highly radioactive stuff.

--  Be passively safe against the two most worrisome "accident 
initiators": loss of heat sink (TMI) and loss of coolant flow (Chernobyl).

--  Be deployed economically in small modules (say 10 MWe to 300 
MWe), with reactor vessels small enough to be transported by standard means.

         In summary, a 1-GWe IFR plant, once operating, takes in one 
ton of makeup fuel per year (could be DU), and exports electricity 
plus one ton of fission products with a trace of higher 
actinides.  In the breeder mode, some (very radioactive) startup fuel 
would be sent out from time to time, to get a new IFR plant up & running.

         Here are a few references for introductory reading (more 
references on request):

--  Till, Charles E., "Plentiful Energy and the IFR Story," 
International Journal of Nuclear Governance, Economy and Ecology 
(IJNG2E). Vol 1, No. 1. pp 212-221
or <http://tinyurl.com/2dlfwy>

-- Stanford, George S., "Integral Fast Reactors: Source of Safe, 
Abundant, Non-Polluting Power." December 2001

--  Hannum, W. H., G. E. Marsh and G. S. Stanford, "Smarter Use of 
Nuclear Waste." Scientific American, December 2005, pp 
84-91.  <http://www.nationalcenter.org/NuclearFastReactorsSA1205.pdf>

--  Blees, Tom, "Prescription for the Planet: The Painless Remedy for 
Our Energy & Environmental Crises." Booksurge, 2008. 
<http://www.prescriptionfortheplanet.com/> .

--  Shuster, Joseph M.  "Beyond Fossil Fools: The Roadmap to Energy 
Independence by 2040." <http://www.beyondfossilfools.com/>

--  Kirsch, Steve.  "The Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) project."  August 2008.


                 -- George Stanford


At 01:18 PM 3/20/2009, Brennan, Mike  (DOH) wrote:

In a couple of weeks I am participating in a panel at a science/science
fiction convention on new and near future nuclear power technology.
Anyone know about any particularly cool things I should bring up?
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