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Science and Technology of Nuclear Installations
Volume 2009 (2009), Article ID 573481, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2009/573481
Research Article

GCFR Coupled Neutronic and Thermal-Fluid-Dynamics Analyses for a Core Containing Minor Actinides

1Dipartimento di Ingegneria Meccanica, Nucleare e della Produzione (DIMNP), Università di Pisa (UNIPI), CIRTEN, Largo Lucio Lazzarino n. 1, 56126 Pisa, Italy
2Studiecentrum voor Kernenergie, Centre d'Etude de l'énergie Nucléaire (SCK CEN), Belgium
3Dipartimento di Ingegneria della Produzione, Termoenergetica e Modelli Matematici (DIPTEM), Università di Genova (UNIGE), Via all'Opera Pia n. 15/a, 16145 Genova, Italy
4Gruppo di Ricerca Nucleare San Piero a Grado (GRNSPG), Università di Pisa (UNIPI), Largo Lucio Lazzarino n. 1, 56126 Pisa, Italy

Received 27 January 2009; Accepted 2 March 2009

Academic Editor: Jan Leen Kloosterman

Copyright © 2009 Diego Castelliti et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Problems about future energy availability, climate changes, and air quality seem to play an important role in energy production. While current reactor generations provide a guaranteed and economical energy production, new nuclear power plant generation would increase the ways and purposes in which nuclear energy can be used. To explore these new technological applications, several governments, industries, and research communities decided to contribute to the next reactor generation, called “Generation IV.” Among the six Gen-IV reactor designs, the Gas Cooled Fast Reactor (GCFR) uses a direct-cycle helium turbine for electricity generation and for a C O 2 -free thermochemical production of hydrogen. Additionally, the use of a fast spectrum allows actinides transmutation, minimizing the production of long-lived radioactive waste in an integrated fuel cycle. This paper presents an analysis of GCFR fuel cycle optimization and of a thermal-hydraulic of a GCFR-prototype under steady-state and transient conditions. The fuel cycle optimization was performed to assess the capability of the GCFR to transmute MAs, while the thermal-hydraulic analysis was performed to investigate the reactor and the safety systems behavior during a LOFA. Preliminary results show that limited quantities of MA are not affecting significantly the thermal-fluid-dynamics behavior of a GCFR core.