Piera, Mireia and Lafuente Mazuecos, Antonio and Abánades Velasco, Alberto and Martínez-Val Peñalosa, Jose Maria
Hybrid reactors: nuclear breeding or energy production?.
In: "14th International Conference on Emerging Nuclear Systems (ICENES 2009)", 29/06/2010 - 03/07/2010, Ericeira, Portugal.
After reviewing the long-standing tradition on hybrid research, an assessment model is presented in order to characterize the hybrid performance under different objectives. In hybrids, neutron multiplication in the subcritical blanket plays a major role, not only for energy production and nuclear breeding, but also for tritium breeding, which is fundamental requirement in fusion–fission hybrids. All three objectives are better achieved with high values of the neutron multiplication factor (k-eff) with the obvious and fundamental limitation that it cannot reach criticality under any event, particularly, in the case of a loss of coolant accident. This limitation will be very important in the selection of the coolant. Some general considerations will be proposed, as guidelines for assessing the hybrid potential in a given scenario. Those guidelines point out that hybrids can be of great interest for the future of nuclear energy in a framework of Sustainable Development, because they can contribute to the efficient exploitation of nuclear fuels, with very high safety features. Additionally, a proposal is presented on a blanket specially suited for fusion–fission hybrids, although this reactor concept is still under review, and new work is needed for identifying the most suitable blanket composition, which can vary depending on the main objective of the hybrid.