7. Fast Breeder Reactors - FAST BREEDER REACTORS M Ragheb...

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FAST BREEDER REACTORS M. Ragheb 10/9/2007 INTRODUCTION Energy production by fast breeding remains the main goal of the Liquid Metal Fast Reactor (LMFR) to ensure a sustainable long term fissile fuel supply. In addition, the use of LMFRs allows the recycling of the Minor Actinides content of nuclear waste burning them to produce energy and reduce the amounts of disposed waste. Another advantage of the LMFR is its higher thermal efficiency compared with water-cooled reactors. The sustainable, environmentally clean long term use of nuclear power can be achieved with fast reactors, since thermal reactors are capable of burning less than 1 percent of the uranium fuel. It is surmised that the known reserves of uranium will fuel thermal reactors for only a few decades. Fast reactors burn most of the uranium fuel extending the power producing capability of the uranium reserves into the hundreds of years, making the recoverable energy resource from uranium larger than from coal. Fig. 1: The Experimental Breeder Reactor I, EBR-I, in the Idaho desert turned into a museum. It used a Na-K eutectic alloy that was liquid at room temperature as a coolant. The fast reactor first transforms the 99.3 percent in the original ore abundant isotope U 238 into Pu 239 , then burning it to produce to produce 50 to 60 times as much energy per metric tonne of uranium ore as a thermal reactor. Recycling becomes an essential part of the fast reactor system since the fuel is recycled through the reactor several times. The first nuclear electricity was produced on December 20, 1951 in the Experimental Breeder Reactor I or EBR-I at Idaho. It was turned into a museum after an accident, and was
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superseded by the Experimental Breeder Reactor II, or EBR-II which successfully produced electricity for more than 25 years. Fig. 2: The Experimental Breeder Reactor I, EBR-I, lighted up a string of light bulbs with the first produced nuclear electricity on December 20, 1951. Fig. 3: The Experimental Breeder Reactor II, EBR-II, at Idaho used a sodium coolant.
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