Transmutation of Plutonium and Minor Actinide in PWR Thorium-Transuranic Fuel Assembly

- Zuhair, Wahid Luthfi, R. Andika Putra Dwijayanto, - Sriyono, - Suwoto


Long-lived radioactive waste is often considered a concerning issue on utilizing nuclear power. This waste is in the form of plutonium and minor actinides (MA), formed due to successive neutron capture of 238U. Both are not particularly hazardous radiologically, but their long half-life caused an issue in the public acceptance of radioactive waste disposal. Thereby, this issue must be resolved, either politically or technically. One of the technical solutions to address the issue of long-lived radioactive waste is the incineration of transuranic (TRU) elements in a pressurized water reactor (PWR) fuel assembly. Mixing TRU with thorium in a PWR fuel assembly can theoretically reduce TRU stockpile more effectively than uranium. This paper discusses plutonium and MA transmutation in a Thorium-Transuranic (Th-TRU) PWR fuel assembly using MCNP6 code and ENDF/B-VII library. A Westinghouse 17×17 PWR fuel assembly was chosen to determine the feasibility of TRU incineration. Three assemblies of 50:50, 55:45, and 60:40 mixture of UO2 and Th-TRU fuel rods are compared to one reference UO2 assembly from the criticality and burn-up point of view. From the calculations, the plutonium incineration rate was observed to be 9.47 %, 10.91 %, and 12.2 %, while MA incineration rates were found to be 11.5 %, 11.93 %, and 12.3 % for Th50-TRU50, Th55-TRU45, and Th60-TRU40, respectively. This observation indicates that a higher thorium fraction in the fuel assembly can increase the TRU transmutation rate. Therefore, a high thorium fraction is recommended to increase the transmutation rate of the TRU.


Transmutation; plutonium and minor actinide; Th-TRU; PWR fuel assembly

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