F. Parozzi, F. Polidoro: Feasibility of fuel cycle based on Th-MOX fuel in Small Modular Reactors

Abstract. Uranium resources are secure for a long time, but prices are likely to be substantially higher after 2020. Nowadays, conventional industry, built on uranium, is watching with interest to thorium that could represent an alternative to uranium as fuel. Moreover, Thorium-MOX fuels, designed to be used in conventional LWRs, can utilize plutonium from spent fuel and weapons dismantling in order to provide a new option for reducing civil and military plutonium stocks. In this context, the sustainability of a fuel cycle based on thorium-plutonium mixed oxides in a Small Modular Reactor, is analyzed by using state-of-art neutronic numerical models. The work, in particular, analyzes the behavior of a SMR core fueled with Th-MOX fuel assemblies, and compares it with the analogous behavior of a SMR core fueled with conventional MOX. Main advantages and drawbacks of this option are also highlighted.

Th-MOX fuel for SMRs