Utilization of thorium in a Gas Turbine - Modular Helium Reactor

Sahin H. M. , EROL Ö., ACIR A.

ENERGY CONVERSION AND MANAGEMENT, vol.63, pp.25-30, 2012 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 63
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.enconman.2012.01.027
  • Page Numbers: pp.25-30
  • Keywords: GT-MHR, Thorium utilization, Nuclear energy, Alternative fuels, GT-MHR, MONTE-CARLO, GRADE PLUTONIUM, FUEL, EMISSION, ENERGY, CORE


Gas Turbine-Modular Helium Reactor (GT-MHR) is one of the new types of the reactors with high efficiency and increased safety features. The usage of different kinds of fissile material in this reactor can increase the life of it. Weapons-grade plutonium (WGrPu), which can be acquired from the old dismantled nuclear weapons, can be an option in a GT-MHR. In order to increase the sustainability of the WGrPu resources this fuel can be mixed with thorium, which is a fertile material that can be found in the nature and has resources three times more than uranium. In this study, possibility of utilization of the weapons-grade plutonium-thorium mixture was investigated and an optimum mixture ratio was determined. The behavior of this mixture and the original fuel was studied by using MCNP5 1.4, Monteburns 2.0 and Origen 2.2 tools. Calculations showed that, a GT-MHR type reactor, which is using the original TRISO fuel particle mixture of 20% enriched uranium + natural uranium (original fuel) has an effective multiplication factor (k(eff)) of 1.270. Corresponding to this k(eff) value the weapons-grade plutonium/thorium oxide mixture was found 19%/81%. By using Monteburns Code, the operation time, which describes the time passed until the reactor reaches a k(eff) value of 1.02, was found as 515 days for the original fuel and 1175 days for the weapons grade plutonium mixture. Furthermore, the burn-up values for the original fuel and WGrPu fuels were found as 47.69 and 119.27 GWd/MTU, respectively. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.