What are breeder reactors and thermal reactors?

What are breeder reactors and thermal reactors?

Reactors with a fast neutron spectrum are called fast breeder reactors (FBR) – these typically utilize uranium-238 as fuel. Reactors with a thermal neutron spectrum are called thermal breeder reactors – these typically utilize thorium-232 as fuel.

What does a breeder reactor breed?

They can use approximately 70% of the uranium-238 for production of power, whereas normal reactors can only use around 1% of it. They can also use thorium-232 to breed uranium-233, another fissionable product. The most common breeding is of plutonium-239, which is bred through the process seen in Figure 1 below.

Why don’t we use breeder reactors?

Another is that, to extract the plutonium, the fuel must be reprocessed, creating radioactive waste and potentially high radiation exposures. For these reasons, in the U.S., President Carter halted such spent fuel reprocessing, making the use of breeder reactors problematic.

Where are breeder reactors used?

There are four countries in the world that currently have operating fast breeder nuclear reactors: China, Japan, India and Russia. That total is down from nine countries, including the U.S., that had operating breeder reactors, some since the 1950s, according to World Nuclear Association (WNA).

What is meant by thermal reactor?

noun. a nuclear reactor in which most of the fission is caused by thermal neutrons.

What are the disadvantages of breeder reactors?

Breeder reactors use highly enriched fuels, which pose the danger of critical accidents. They also work at a very high temperature and a fast pace. Plutonium persists for a long time in the environment, with a half-life of 24,000 years, and is highly toxic, causing lung cancer even if a small amount is inhaled.

Do breeder reactors reduce nuclear waste?

“The fast breeder technology has the potential to make the production of energy from uranium 100 times more efficient than with the existing thermal reactor, reducing the amount and toxicity of radioactive waste, as well as the heat emanating from the waste, and also shortening the waste’s hazardous lifetime span,” …

What are the advantages of breeder reactors?

A breeder reactor creates 30% more fuel than it consumes. After an initial introduction of enriched uranium, the reactor only needs infrequent addition of stable uranium, which is then converted into the fuel. It can generate much more energy than traditional coal power plants.

Are breeder reactors still used?

What is the best material for thermal reactors?

In majority of modern thermal reactors, uranium fuel is used. It is connected with presence of fission nuclides in raw uranium. Use of thorium fuel with more secondary neutrons needs to carry out preparation stage for fission nuclide production—233U.

What are the advantages of breeder reactor?

Can a breeder reactor explode?

If the core of a breeder reactor heats up to the point of collapse and suffers a meltdown, the fuel can assume a more critical configuration and blow itself apart in a small nuclear explosion. Fast neutron reactors have special safety problems.

Why are breeder reactors controversial?

Critics of the nuclear industry argue that breeder reactors are unnecessary and risky, as they would establish an economy in plutonium, the stuff of nuclear weapons. Some critics say the VTR is a way to keep that controversial dream alive—although VTR developers do not plan to breed plutonium or reprocess fuel.

Are breeder reactors renewable?

It is the purpose of this note to show that breeder reactors using nuclear fission fulfill this definition of a renewable energy source, and in fact can supply all the world’s energy needs at present costs for that time period.

Which countries use breeder reactors?

Can thermal reactor explode?

In addition to the fuel rods melting, the heat passes to the water in the reactor; this generates high pressures. If the hot uranium contacts water, it can react to form hydrogen. The steam pressures and/or the explosion of the hydrogen can rupture the reactor vessel and allow radioactive vapors to escape.

Why are most reactors called thermal reactor?

A thermal-neutron reactor is a nuclear reactor that uses slow or thermal neutrons.

What are breeder reactors advantages and disadvantages?

What are breeder reactors disadvantages?

Is a thermal breeder reactor right for You?

The thermal breeder reactor, using thorium and uranium-233, has always been an attractive option. One extensive test of that type of reactor was the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment at Oak Ridge, an outgrowth of the aircraft nuclear program of the 1960s (see Section 20.6 ).

What are the different types of breeder reactors?

There are two categories of breeder reactors, based on the speed of the neutrons. Fast breeder reactors which use uranium-238 as fuel and thermal breeder reactors which use thorium-232 as fuel.

What is the temperature of the fast breeder reactor?

13.3 The Fast Breeder Reactor Thermal power 3000 MW Electric power 1200 MW Sodium coolant temperatures 395–545°C Core fuel height 1.0 m Core volume 10,766 liters

Is 80% of work on fast breeder reactor at Kalpakkam over?

^ Srikanth (27 November 2011). “80% of work on fast breeder reactor at Kalpakkam over”. The Hindu. Kalpakkam. Archived from the original on 28 November 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2012. ^ Jaganathan, Venkatachari (11 May 2011). “India’s new fast-breeder on track, nuclear power from September next”. Hindustan Times. Chennai.