Prospects for transmutation of nuclear waste and associated proton-accelerator technology
National Institute for Nuclear and Particle Physics, CNRS, 75016 Paris, France
While a considerable and world-wide growth of the nuclear share in the global energy mix is desirable for many reasons, a major concern or objection is the long-term burden that is constituted by the radiotoxic waste from the spent fuel. The concept of Partitioning & Transmutation, a scientific and technological answer, is therefore of high interest. Its deployment may use dedicated “Transmuter” or “Burner” reactors, using a fast neutron spectrum. For the transmutation of waste with a large content (up to 50%) of (very long-lived) Minor Actinides, a sub-critical reactor, using an external neutron source is a solution of high interest. It is constituted by coupling a proton accelerator, a spallation target and a subcritical core. This promising new technology is named ADS, for accelerator-driven system. The present paper aims at an introduction into the field in order to focus, in its later part, on the development of the required accelerator technology.
© EDP Sciences, Springer-Verlag, 2009