Nuclear Development Strategies with Limited Natural Uranium Requirements

Nakicenovic, N. ORCID: & Perry, A.M. (1979). Nuclear Development Strategies with Limited Natural Uranium Requirements. IIASA Working Paper. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: WP-79-129

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In view of the fact that the world's high-grade natural uranium resources are limited, alternative ways of using these resources more efficiently are of interest in the line of research undertaken by IIASA's Energy Systems Program. Sole reliance on the currently predominant Light Water Reactors (LWRs) would mean to deplete these natural uranium resources rapidly.

The present paper considers different strategies of uranium use involving, in addition to burners (LWRs), Fast Breeder Reactors (FBRs) and Advanced Converter Reactors (ACR) with an extremely high efficiency in using natural uranium. Breeder reactors in fact require only depleted natural uranium (left over from enriched LWR fuel), once a certain endowment of fissile plutonium (from burnt LWR fuel) has accumulated. Given such an endowment, the breeder output can be increased on the basis of self-generated plutonium. Although the efficiency in using natural uranium is less in advanced converter reactors, their uranium savings are enormous compared to the amounts used up in burners. Such considerations of a more efficient future uranium use by deploying advanced reactors in addition to burner reactors are based on a hypothetical trajectory of a total installed nuclear capacity increasing to 10 TW(e) by the year 2030. The analysis shows that a combination of advanced and burner reactors, as compared to the use of burners only, could lead to cumulative, high-grade uranium savings greater than 70% from 1980 to 2030.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Working Paper)
Research Programs: Energy (ENE)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 01:45
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:09

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