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The U.S. Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative (AFCI) is a program to develop economic and environmental methods to reduce the impact of waste from commercial nuclear fuel cycles. One concept for near-complete destruction of waste isotopes from used nuclear fuel is accelerator driven transmutation. High-power accelerators would be used to produce high-energy charged particles, which then collide with heavy metal targets to create a cascade of neutrons. These neutrons then cause a nuclear chain reaction in subcritical systems. Fission neutrons then transmute fissile waste isotopes as well as other problematic isotopes such as technetium-99 and iodine-129. To design these systems, complex reactor physics computer codes and highly detailed data libraries are used to compute the reactivity of systems, reaction rates, destruction rates, and nuclear-induced damage rates to materials. In this project, we will use a Russian-built detector system to make measurements of neutrons generated in a central target by a variety of accelerators. We will also use the most advanced high-energy radiation transport code, MCNPX, to model the experiments. Experimental results will be compared to computational predictions and discrepancies will be investigated. Initial plans were to conduct experiments using a 70-MeV proton cyclotron at the Crocker Nuclear Laboratory at the University of California at Davis and/or a 20 to 40 MeV electron linac (linear accelerator) at the Idaho Accelerator Center (IAC) at Idaho State University (ISU). Finally, we planned to use the 800-MeV linac at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center at Los Alamos National Laboratory.


Accelerator-driven systems; Particle accelerators; Radioactive wastes — Transmutation; Spent reactor fuels


Nuclear | Nuclear Engineering | Oil, Gas, and Energy