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Non-nuclear energy

Concepts to produce less waste in nuclear power generation

Fission and radiation protection

Research will focus on exploring the potential for the more efficient use of fissile material in existing reactors and other concepts to produce less waste in nuclear energy generation.

Innovative fuels are being studied with advantages in terms of the use of fissile materials. In addition other fuel cycles are being evaluated including the thorium fuel cycle and integral reactors with on-line fuel reprocessing and fuel fabrication. Advanced nuclear fuel research looks to achieve quantifiable improvements in the performance of nuclear fuel in terms of safety, waste generation and economics. Areas of interest include improved ‘burn-up’ of nuclear fuels beyond current limits and innovative technology to maximize energy generation.

An important part of this effort is to know the effects on safety margins of using higher burn-up fuels and mixed oxide (MOX) fuels. This has an impact both in terms of changes in operational procedure at the power plant and optimization of fuel production.

New reactor concepts that can impact in this area include Very High Temperature Reactors (VHTR) and other innovative concepts. More detail on these ideas can be found at here .