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Transmutation of Fission Products and Actinides Using Thermonuclear Reactors


Transmutation of Radioactive and Transuranium Isotopes by High-Energy Neutrons of the Thermonuclear Reactor

Tech Area / Field

  • FIR-ISO/Isotopes/Fission Reactors

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
VNIIEF, Russia, N. Novgorod reg., Sarov


  • SKB (Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste management Co.), Sweden, Stockholm

Project summary

The problem of transmutation of radioactive isotopes (nuclear energetic wastes, products of the nuclear plant accidents), i.e. transfer in radiation safety state, has become especially actual in the countries, developing nuclear energetic, at present. According to this, many scientific groups are conducting intensive search of the most effective, technically feasible and economically reliable way of solution of this problem.

The purpose of this project is theoretical investigation of feasibility and advisability of using thermonuclear neutrons of -14 mV energy for transmutation of long-lived radioactive isotopes. The most interesting for practical realization are isotopes Cs-137, Sr-90 with the period -30 years and long-lived actinides as well.

RENC-VNIIEF has a certain methodological experience in this field. Our institute investigated behavior of actinoids and fission products in great neutron fluxes, realized by means of thermonuclear explosion, and carried out in RENC-VNIIEF a preliminary theoretical investigation of this problem by on radiation with ~14 Mev neutron flux.

The version of "ion driver" has been studied as feasible one and the most preferable by some reasons. The single-charged ion flux generated by "ion driver" is used for realization of the idea of "inertial ion thermonuclear fusion", which is being intensively investigated recently in RENC-VNIIEF.

Within the limits of a simple kinetic model burning and generation of different radioactive isotopes with account for the main reaction (here, the channel (n, 2n) is determining) and decay channels has shown principle feasibility of effective transmutation of radioactive isotopes (isotopes Cs-137 and Sr-90 were the first to be studied), when irradiated by fast (En ~ 14 MeV) neutron fluxes of Ф ~ 5ґ1015...5ґ1016 n/cm2 level, accompanied by considerable reduction of activity level (by a factor of ~ 5...10 and more) within reasonable for practical application periods (~ 1...5 years).

Efficiency of converting of the ions accelerated by "ion driver" reaches the value of ~ 104 thermonuclear neutrons per ion. At the same time, widely known and developed today, project LANL, which is also based on "ion driver" (powerful proton accelerator), allows to obtain the value of ~ 10...20 neutrons per accelerated ion only.

As the result of the work carried out within the limits of the proposals stated above, an important problem concerning the real chaise for application of the practical efforts in one of the most perspective aspects of transmutation of radioactive isotopes - transmutation of isotopes by fast neutrons of thermonuclear reactor will be completely investigated.

The proper choice of the most economical and effective method of solving the problem of radioactive isotope transmutation is a very important moment from the economical point of view, because the practical realization of any of the possible variants of the solution of this problem requires considerable investment of funds.

The participants of the project are scientists - physicists and mathematicians who took part in the development of the nuclear weapons. The project will allow shifting the efforts of highly qualified specialists employed in military industry to the problem providing ecological safety, which has worldwide importance.

Approximate amount of efforts - 250 person-months, duration of project - 3 years.

The participation of foreign collaborators in present project is supposed. It is known that the question on possibility of using thermonuclear reactor neutrons for transmutation of radioactive isotopes is studied in world literature at present. One can find publications in which the principal moments of such approach are being studied. Therefore, support of this ISTC project by foreign collaborators is quite possible. The search of the direct participants from other countries is conducted now.