The Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative (AFCI) of the Department of Energy has been formulated to perform research leading to advanced fuels and fuel cycles for advanced nuclear power systems. One of the objectives of AFCI is to determine if partitioning and transmutation of spent nuclear fuel will reduce the burden on the geologic repository. The AFCI program is periodically reviewed by the Advanced Nuclear Transmutation Technology (ANTT) subcommittee of the Nuclear Energy Research Advisory Committee (NERAC).
Supercritical-Water-Cooled Reactor (SCWR) was selected as one of the promising candidates in Generation IV reactors for its prominent advantages; those are the high thermal efficiency, the system simplification, the R&D cost minimization and the flexibility for core design. As the demand for advanced nuclear system increases, Japanese R&D project started in 1999 aiming to provide technical information essential to demonstration of SCPR technologies through three sub-themes of 1. Plant conceptual design, 2. Thermal-hydraulics, and 3. Material.
As an element of its plans to return the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) site in eastern Idaho to its historic mission of nuclear technology development, the DOE asked its Nuclear Energy Research Advisory Committee (NERAC) to establish a Subcommittee on Nuclear Laboratory Requirements. The Subcommittee was charged with identifying the “characteristics, capabilities, and attributes a world-class nuclear laboratory would possess”.
Noting further that representatives of DOE's Office of Nuclear Energy, Science, and Technology and ANRE have identified common interests in innovative light water reactor technologies, including supercritical light water, innovative processing technologies of oxide fuel for light water reactor, and innovative fuel technologies using solvent extraction.
On October 1, 2002 the DOE Nuclear Energy Research Advisory Committee was asked to provide specific, focused updates to its Nuclear Science and Technology Infrastructure Roadmap and review the specific issues at the DOE key nuclear energy research and development (R&D) laboratories. This activity was assigned to a five-member Infrastructure Task Force (ITF).
The ANTT Subcommittee of NERAC met February 26th and 27th (S. Pillon absent) to begin a review of the potential role of transmutation technologies in increasing the capacity of the geological repository for spent reactor fuel. This work is in support of the recommendation required from the Secretary of Energy later in this decade on the need for a second repository. Since repository issues were under discussion, representatives of the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (RW) were in attendance.
The committee met in Washington in Sept 16-17 to review progress in the program with respect to a changed set of mission priorities. Our last meeting took place in Dec 2002 after the reorganization that had place the Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative (AFCI) and GEN IV program together in the Advanced Nuclear Reserach Office (AN-20). Since mission priorities have been evolving, the committee felt that it should wait unti they have settled down before we met again.
The objective of this technical arrangement is to establish a framework for co-operation between the Parties in the field of nuclear-related technology research and development based upon mutual benefit. The co-operation is intended to occur in specific areas where the programs of the Parties complement one another as well as those in which comparability exists.
The ANTT Subcommittee met in Washington on Dec 4-5, 2002 to review progress in the transmutation program, and to learn about major organizational changes that affect the management of the program. The NE's new Advanced Nuclear Research Office (NE-20) now oversees both the transmutation program (ANTT) and the Generation-IV program (GEN-IV).
The development of advanced nuclear energy systems in the U.S. will depend greatly on the continued success of currently operating light water nuclear power plants and the ordering of new installations in the short term. DOE needs to give those immediate objectives the highest priority and any additional support they require to assure their success.
DOE is pursuing two initiatives to encourage a greater use of nuclear energy systems. The initiatives have been reviewed by NERAC Subcommittee on Generation IV Technology Planning (GRNS) and they are:
Although they are tiny, atoms have a large amount of energy holding their nuclei together. Certain isotopes of some elements can be split and will release part of their energy as heat. This splitting is called fission. The heat released in fission can be used to help generate electricity in powerplants. Uranium-235 (U-235) is one of the isotopes that fissions easily. During fission, U-235 atoms absorb loose neutrons. This causes U-235 to become unstable and split into two light atoms called fission products.
The objective of this document is to provide the Department of Energy (DOE) and the nuclear industry with the basis for a plan to ensure the availability of near-term nuclear energy options that can be in operation in the U.S. by 2010. This document identifies the technological, regulatory, and institutional gaps and issues that need to be addressed for new nuclear plants to be deployed in the U.S. in this timeframe. It also identifies specific designs that could be deployed by 2010, along with the actions and resource requirements that are needed to ensure their availability.
Nuclear power plants in the United States currently produce about 20 percent of the nation’s electricity. This nuclear-generated electricity is safe, clean and economical, and does not emit greenhouse gases. Continued and expanded reliance on nuclear energy is one key to meeting future demand for electricity in the U.S. and is called for in the National Energy Policy. Nevertheless, no new nuclear plants have been built in the U.S. in many years, and none are currently slated for construction.
The purpose of this Implementing Arrangement is to establish between the Department of Energy of the United States of America and the Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique of France, hereinafter referred to as the parties, terms for bilateral collaboration on Research and Development focused on advanced technologies for improving the costs, safety, and proliferation-resistance of nuclear power systems.