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Science and Technology of Nuclear Installations
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 293467, 10 pages
Research Article

Economic Analysis of Different Nuclear Fuel Cycle Options

Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, Yuseong, Daejeon 305-353, Republic of Korea

Received 2 February 2012; Accepted 13 April 2012

Academic Editor: Katsuhisa Yamaguchi

Copyright © 2012 Won Il Ko and Fanxing Gao. 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.


An economic analysis has been performed to compare four nuclear fuel cycle options: a once-through cycle (OT), DUPIC recycling, thermal recycling using MOX fuel in a pressurized water reactor (PWR-MOX), and sodium fast reactor recycling employing pyroprocessing (Pyro-SFR). This comparison was made to suggest an economic competitive fuel cycle for the Republic of Korea. The fuel cycle cost (FCC) has been calculated based on the equilibrium material flows integrated with the unit cost of the fuel cycle components. The levelized fuel cycle costs (LFCC) have been derived in terms of mills/kWh for a fair comparison among the FCCs, and the results are as follows: OT 7.35 mills/kWh, DUPIC 9.06 mills/kWh, PUREX-MOX 8.94 mills/kWh, and Pyro-SFR 7.70 mills/kWh. Due to unavoidable uncertainties, a cost range has been applied to each unit cost, and an uncertainty study has been performed accordingly. A sensitivity analysis has also been carried out to obtain the break-even uranium price (215$/kgU) for the Pyro-SFR against the OT, which demonstrates that the deployment of the Pyro-SFR may be economical in the foreseeable future. The influence of pyrotechniques on the LFCC has also been studied to determine at which level the potential advantages of Pyro-SFR can be realized.