Major Positive Impact on Canada’s Environment, Climate Change, and Economy
via Fast-Neutron Reactors (FNRs), Recycling and Elimination of 50,000 tons CANDU Fuel Waste
For More Information Contact Dr. Peter Ottensmeyers
University of Toronto (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Preamble: the Ontario example
Ontario’s economy uses 70 GW of carbon power in its transportation, industry and residential sectors in addition to a 17 GW electric sector which is about 95% carbon-free. Ontario’s carbon-driven sectors can be electrified with nuclear power, the least expensive carbon-free power after hydro in Ontario. The technology to do so in environmentally responsible ways exists: fast-neutron reactors (FNRs). These power plants can recycle, consume, and simultaneously eliminate Canada’s existing 50,000 tons of highly radioactive stored CANDU fuel waste.
The FNR technologies were developed in the 1950/60s; fuel recycling in the 1970/80s. Commercial versions of fast-neutron reactors have operated in Russia since 1972, and are available in the USA from GE-Hitachi in North Carolina as factory-built small modular reactors at 300 MWe, the PRISM reactors.
Well over 400 reactor-years of experience on FNRs have been acquired worldwide. Canada currently has no FNRs.
No nuclear weapons have ever been developed or built using this technology.
Advantages in brief:
Economy (carbon-free energy with FNRs)
1 pellet of used CANDU fuel waste (~20 gm) in FNR produces energy of 571 barrels of oil
Each 1 ton of used CANDU fuel waste can produce $ 1.5 billion carbon-free electricity
50,000 tons used CANDU fuel waste can produce $ 75 trillion carbon-free electricity
10 tons of used CANDU fuel in FNRs give Ontario 1 year of nuclear electricity (current levels)
50,000 tons existing stored used fuel in FNRs produce 5,000 years of carbon-free energy (current levels)
Environment 1 (Climate Change — GHG emission avoidance)
10 tons (1 year supply for Ontario in FNRs) avoid 100 million tons CO2 emissions
50,000 tons nuclear waste avoid 475 billion tons CO2 (15.5% of CO2 in atm.)
Environment 2 (“million-year” radiotoxicity reduction/elimination with recycling through FNRs)
Radiotoxicity decay of nuclear fuel waste today requires 400,000 years to decay to background
Time for elimination of 400,000 year toxicity
if recycled through FNRs: only 45 years (Ontario MoE Feasibility Study)
42 years (NWMO paper, Ottawa 2016)
21 years (Pickering 15,000 tons used fuel only)
Residue of fission products (split U atoms) decays in 300 years (not 400,000 years)
(then fuel residues are worth $3 M / ton)
FNRs tested under full power (49 times): with inactivated control rods / all cooling suddenly shut off
No other reactor type was tested like this Result: self-shutdown within 3 minutes
without automated intervention
without human intervention
Note: this type of reactor would have survived unscathed, with no consequences in
Finances: (no new taxes or levies required by any level of government)
Start-up funds exist in federal and provincial (Ontario)Trust Funds for nuclear waste management of fuel
(currently at ~$ 9 billion for unnecessary Deep Geological Repository (DGR) costing $20-40 billion).
Redirection to fuel waste recycling with FNRs is possible within Nuclear Fuel Waste Act, Section [20(2)].
Post-start-up, technology is self-supporting and self-propagating from sale of electricity.