With the renewed interest in nuclear energy worldwide and the potential expansion in deployment in the US and overseas, there is now a resurgence in the evaluation and development of advanced fuel cycles. Advanced fuel cycle systems analysis considers all components of the fuel cycle to understand the performance of the fuel cycle to meet energy generation objectives. Using its multi-disciplinary science-based expertise and experience, ORNL supports the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy in evaluating and developing advanced fuel cycle systems to improve the sustainability, safety, economics and non-proliferation of nuclear energy.
ORNL is actively involved in the understanding, development, evaluation and deployment of advanced fuel cycle technology and systems throughout the entire nuclear fuel cycle.
ORNL’s experts are involved in the development of nearly all fuel cycle components including sources of uranium (e.g., uranium from sea water), reactor technologies (e.g., Small Modular Reactors, Molten Salt Reactors), new fuel concepts (e.g., accident tolerant fuels, thorium fuels), separations and recycle (e.g., re-use of zirconium cladding), and used fuel disposition. With this extensive expertise in fuel cycle technologies, ORNL is able to evaluate entire fuel cycle systems from an economic, sustainability, safety and nonproliferation perspective using tools and techniques deployed at ORNL. The evaluation and development of fuel cycle options is underpinned not only by application-focused expertise, but also by “cradle to grave” modeling and simulation and experimental facility capabilities to perform the R&D necessary for the development of advanced fuel cycle systems.
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