Determination of fissile fraction in MOX (mixed U plus Pu oxides) fuels for different burnup values

Ozdemir L., Acar B., Zabunoglu O. H.

ANNALS OF NUCLEAR ENERGY, vol.38, pp.540-546, 2011 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 38
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.anucene.2010.09.029
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.540-546
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


When spent Light Water Reactor fuels are processed by the standard Purex method of reprocessing, plutonium (Pu) and uranium (U) in spent fuel are obtained as pure and separate streams. The recovered Pu has a fissile content (consisting of (239)Pu and (241)Pu) greater than 60% typically (although it mainly depends on discharge burnup of spent fuel). The recovered Pu can be recycled as mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel after being blended with a fertile U makeup in a MOX fabrication plant. The burnup that can be obtained from MOX fuel depends on: (1) isotopic composition of Pu, which is closely related to the discharge burnup of spent fuel from which Pu is recovered; (2) the type of fertile U makeup material used (depleted U, natural U. or recovered U); and (3) fraction of makeup material in the mix (blending ratio), which in turn determines the total fissile fraction of MOX. Using the Non-linear Reactivity Model and the code MONTEBURNS, a step-by-step procedure for computing the total fissile content of MOX is introduced. As was intended, the resulting expression is simple enough for quick/hand calculations of total fissile content of MOX required to reach a desired burnup for a given discharge burnup of spent fuel and for a specified fertile U makeup. In any case, due to non-fissile (parasitic) content of recovered Pu, a greater fissile fraction in MOX than that in fresh U is required to obtain the same burnup as can be obtained by the fresh U fuel. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.