Can someone explain the significance of this

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mr friendly guy
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Can someone explain the significance of this

Post by mr friendly guy » 2017-06-10 07:39am

From another message board I lurk on, someone posted an article about China's civilian nuclear research
Chinese scientists have made a technological breakthrough in the country's nuclear energy program. The new accelerator-driven system (ADS) is able to raise the utilization rate of uranium to 95 percent, a great leap forward from less than 1 percent using the current technology, paving way for a safer, greener nuclear future, said the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) at a press conference on June 8.
My understanding is that the relevant isotope in uranium (ie that is actually used) is less than 1%, and some reactors like fast breeders can get that up to 60% ( 60 times more efficient than a normal reactor , but they aren't economically competitive with other reactors, even those that only use less than 1% of the uranium. Moreover fast reactors appear to already use the ADS system.

So going from 1% to 95% may not necessarily be that impressive if its a reactor which can already do 60% of uranium.

Original article here
http://en.people.cn/n3/2017/0609/c202936-9226452.html (unfortunately the translated articles in English don't appear to be as detail as the ones in Chinese given the difference in length between them, and this English one gives a bare minimum of information)

So hopefully someone who understands nuclear physics better can explain it better, because as a nuclear fanboy this type of news interest me.
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tezunegari
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Re: Can someone explain the significance of this

Post by tezunegari » 2017-06-10 09:49am

As I understand the article:
Uranium contains 0.7 % of the fissile isotope Uranium U-235 and 99.3 % of the non-fissile U-238, a.k.a. "depleted Uranium".

FNRs use the non-fissile U-238 to breed Plutonium-239 and Pu-241.
The Plutonium is then used to create heat/energy.

Of the U-238, only 60 % could be converted by the old design.

And this new FNR can convert up to 95% which means more of the existing fuel is used instead of being turned into radioactive waste.

Overall the FNR design is safer (too hot and the Pu-breeding stops) but less cost-efficient so far.

Tough that's only my understanding of the english article. And I am barely a layman on nuclear physics and engineering.
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