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How much nuclear capacity can be deployed depending on the available quantities of uranium and reactor types we consider? The case of fast reactors starting with enriched uranium.

Abstract : Many international organizations regularly produce global energy demand scenarios. To account for the increasing population and GDP trends, and to encompass evolutions in energy uses ,among other parameters, while satisfying the constraints on greenhouse gas emissions, long-term scenarios (up to 2100) in terms of installed nuclear power capacity tend to be more ambitious, even after the Fukushima accident. Thus, the amounts of uranium or plutonium needed to deploy such capacities could be limiting factors.In this study, we will first of all consider light water reactors using enriched uranium such as the great majority of the current reactor technologies. We will examine the contribution of future fast reactors operating from an initial fissile load by using depleted uranium from existing stockpiles and recycling their own plutonium.As plutonium is however only available in limited quantity, since it is only produced in nuclear reactors, we will also explore starting these Generation IV reactors with a fissile first load of enriched uranium. We had already compared (FR13) in a static way the uranium consumption of a third generation reactor like an EPR with that one of a fast reactor started with enriched uranium (SFR-U5).For a reactor lifespan of 60 years, the SFR-U5 consumes three times less uranium than the EPR and represents a 60 percent reduction in terms of separative work units (SWU), though its requirements are concentrated over the first years of operation. The purpose of this study is to investigate the interest of SFR-U5 in a nuclear fleet deployment dynamics.Considering several power demand scenarios and assuming different finite quantities of available natural uranium, we will see what types of reactors must be deployed to make it possible to meet the demand.Our first result confirms that the deployment of light water reactors only appears as not sustainable in the long run. Generation IV reactors are therefore essential. But started with plutonium, the number of reactors that can be deployed is also limited.Our second main finding is that the strategy of developing both SFR-Pu and SFR-U5 could allow in fact implementing a larger number of nuclear reactors, with weaker limitations. In a park deployment dynamics, SFR-U5 reactors appear as a virtuous solution to use uranium even if the economic weight of this consumption during the first years of operation is very important.
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Submitted on : Thursday, March 12, 2020 - 3:31:21 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, April 28, 2020 - 11:28:18 AM

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  • HAL Id : cea-02506793, version 1

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A. Baschwitz, G. Mathonniere, S. Gabriel, T. Eleouet. How much nuclear capacity can be deployed depending on the available quantities of uranium and reactor types we consider? The case of fast reactors starting with enriched uranium.. GLOBAL 2015, Sep 2015, Paris, France. ⟨cea-02506793⟩

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