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Science and Technology of Nuclear Installations
Volume 2011, Article ID 519538, 10 pages
Research Article

Converting Maturing Nuclear Sites to Integrated Power Production Islands

Department of Pyroprocessing Technology, Idaho National Laboratory, ID 83415, USA

Received 6 May 2011; Accepted 18 August 2011

Academic Editor: Anis Bousbia Salah

Copyright © 2011 Charles W. Solbrig. 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.


Nuclear islands, which are integrated power production sites, could effectively sequester and safeguard the US stockpile of plutonium. A nuclear island, an evolution of the integral fast reactor, utilizes all the Transuranics (Pu plus minor actinides) produced in power production, and it eliminates all spent fuel shipments to and from the site. This latter attribute requires that fuel reprocessing occur on each site and that fast reactors be built on-site to utilize the TRU. All commercial spent fuel shipments could be eliminated by converting all LWR nuclear power sites to nuclear islands. Existing LWR sites have the added advantage of already possessing a license to produce nuclear power. Each could contribute to an increase in the nuclear power production by adding one or more fast reactors. Both the TRU and the depleted uranium obtained in reprocessing would be used on-site for fast fuel manufacture. Only fission products would be shipped to a repository for storage. The nuclear island concept could be used to alleviate the strain of LWR plant sites currently approaching or exceeding their spent fuel pool storage capacity. Fast reactor breeding ratio could be designed to convert existing sites to all fast reactors, or keep the majority thermal.