Thorium is a significant resource that has the potential to be used in nuclear power generation in a way that can dramatically reduce the quantities of long-lived radioactive waste produced. We propose to use precise Monte-Carlo based 3D computer simulati ons to study the feasibility of incorporating the thorium fuel cycle into existing light water reactor technology. The project aims to determine to what extent thorium-based fuels produce smaller amounts of long-lived minor actinide and plutonium waste, w hat impact these fuels will have on reactor safety, and whether they will be economically competitive and proliferation resistant.
In addition, experiments will be performed at the Oslo Cyclotron which will have direct relevance for the study of the thor ium cycle. We aim to use the surrogate reaction technique to measure cross sections and to study level density and strength functions in the actinide region in order to help improve the evaluated cross section data which directly impact the reactor simula tions. The research is highly complementary: On the French side, the PACS group has expertise and experience in developing reactor physics simulation tools and has a research interest in the thorium cycle as a potential future source of energy. On the Nor wegian side, the Oslo Cyclotron group has developed experimental apparatus which allows measurements which can help improve the evaluated data on which reactor simulations rely. The thorium cycle is also particularly interesting for Norway since it has th e world?s 3rd largest reserves of thorium.
The proposed research is therefore related to the January 2008 report entitled "Thorium as an energy source - Opportunities for Norway" (ISBN 978-82-7017-692-2) by the Thorium Report Committee appointed by the No rwegian research council.