Sodium Fast Reactor - a new study! Sandia National Laboratory

“This report proposes potential research priorities for the Department of Energy (DOE) with the intent of improving the licensability of the Sodium Fast Reactor (SFR).”

Both Volume I and Volume II are available here for download – Suggestion:  Read beginning from the end,  p. 92 (the Final Remarks of Volume 1:

P. 92:  “A more aggressive design, with different cladding options, higher burnups, possible use of TRU fuel elements or targets and advanced power conversion cycles, will likely require a new irradiation testing facility be built.”

P. 87:  “Laboratory commenter # 1 stated that designing and building a test and/or demonstration facility was the most cost effective way to close the gaps identified in this report…”

P. 86:  “Due to economic considerations, any gap requiring high-burnup metallic fuel is not likely to be filled in the foreseeable future. Without domestic fast neutron irradiation facilities, any new irradiations would need to be conducted in one of the few remaining international fast reactors. Due to host restrictions, these experiments would most likely be limited to pin scale tests. In order to remove regulatory hurdles associated with the identified high-burnup gaps, full assembly and/or full core experiments will be required.”

P, 83:  “Even with a large budget, it may take at least 5 to 10 years to increase DOE SFR related staffing to the required levels to design and build a new irradiation facility.  During this time, the relative advantages of TREAT and ACRR should be compared to determine which one, or both, facilities would provide the most cost-beneficial capability to satisfy SFR transient fuel testing requirements. That comparison is underway as part of the DOE-led Analysis of Alternatives for Resumption of Transient Testing of Nuclear Fuels and includes HFIR and ATR in addition to ACRR and TREAT. All relevant aspects of the four reactors, including facility modification and modernization, are being evaluated in terms of the capability of the reactor itself as well as the experiment-support facilities that would be available at each site, considering the entire range of physical capabilities needed to conduct the in-reactor transient testing required in the future.”

P. 56.  Table 19.  List of Current and Potential SFR Related Testing Facilities:  Pacific Northwest National Laboratory:  Currently Available – Radiochemical Processing Laboratory (RPL).


Volume I – Excerpts and snippets are supplied without commentary.

The World Nuclear Association (May 2012):  The 400 MWt Fast Flux Test Facility was in full operation 1982-92 at Hanford as a major national research reactor. It was closed down at the end of 1993, and since 2001 it has been deactivated under care and maintenance pending possible decommissioning. However, in August 2006 the Department of Energy indicated that it could possibly be recommissioned as part of the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership demonstration process.

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