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Comparison of different nuclear fuel cycles for LWR applications
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy.
2008 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Nuclear power is considered a vital energy source, without greenhouse gas emissions, regarding the commitment towards sustainable energy systems. This is especially on the topic of the present climate debate. A central aspect of nuclear power is nuclear fuel. Presently Uranium dioxide (UOX) is the most common nuclear fuel in the world. However, an increased uranium price, waste and proliferation issues are some of the aspects that have resulted in a growing interest for other nuclear fuels. Mixed Oxide (MOX) and thorium are additional nuclear fuels that might be of interest for Light Water Reactor (LWR) applications. The present work is an attempt to make a comparison of these nuclear fuels, in order to understand the potential of each fuel and which fuel that is the best option under certain boundary conditions. Delimitations were to only consider nuclear fuels for the present reactor technology, i.e., LWR, and the front-end, i.e., from mining to fuel fabrication. Operation and back-end is not covered in this thesis.

The result of this work shows that the present dominance of UOX is likely to withstand for at least the near future. MOX will only represent a few percent of the nuclear fuel market and thorium even less. Uranium is presently the most cost-efficient alternative, even if the price for uranium continues to increase to the double of the present price (~90 USD/lb U3O8). Furthermore, the infrastructure is particularly established for uranium-based nuclear power and other nuclear fuels will meet resistance when trying to enter this market. However, there are other factors, like political, that might change this picture in favor for other nuclear fuels in certain countries in the future. Sponsor: Vattenfall AB Generation Nordic ISSN: 1650-

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. , 72 p.
UPTEC ES, ISSN 1650-8300 ; 08014
National Category
Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-162816OAI: diva2:461722
Educational program
Master Programme in Energy Systems Engineering
Available from: 2011-12-05 Created: 2011-12-05 Last updated: 2011-12-05Bibliographically approved

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