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WP4: Key issues towards realisation (SCK•CEN)

Objectives

Several key issues can hinder the future realisation of the facility and are addressed in this WP:

• fuel design, procurement, demonstration & qualification;
• global cost of the facility & funding scheme;
• licensing procedures in both modes of operation;
• operation mode, R&D needs and activities

Description of work

Task 4.1. Fuel design procurement, demonstration & qualification (SCK•CEN)
Fabrication and licensing of fuel is one of the critical problems which directly affect the starting date of operation of FASTEF. In the current MYRRHA/XT-ADS design, a highly enriched MOX with 30-35 wt.% of Pu coming from reprocessing of LWR UO2 spent fuel with burnup of 45 MWd/kg-HM is considered. However these specifications will depend on an available source of Pu and capabilities of a MOX fabrication facility.
Therefore, the first step in this task is the identification of the fuel provider and fuel producer capable to fabricate the highly enriched MOX first for the fuel demonstration, and then for the critical and sub-critical cores.
In the second step, the fuel design should be updated in function of the reactor design and the specifications for fuel fabrication will be developed in close cooperation with the fuel producer. In parallel, a programme for the fuel demonstration and qualification under representative irradiation and cooling conditions will be prepared in the framework of the fuel licensing procedure. Under this subtask, the specifications for the fuel irradiation tests in selected MTRs will be prepared.
This task will also benefit from on-going international material and fuel research programmes.

Task 4.2. Review of the global cost estimate & financing scheme (SCK•CEN, EA, SENER, CNRS)
When going to the construction of a large facility like the FASTEF, the estimation of both investment (direct costs like civil engineering or supplies, indirect costs like engineering design and research, other costs like decommissioning) and daily operation (personnel, supplies, external services, etc) costs is of a major importance as well as the financing schemes for both components. Additional investment could possibly be required to cover a production plant/line for different components like fuel rods.
First estimates have been done either in the framework of the FP5 PDS-XADS project, or internally at SCK•CEN for the preparation of a "Business Plan" for the national authorities. An updated cost estimate will also be available at the end of the EUROTRANS project.
However, increasing prices for primary materials and the implementation of new design choices from WP1 will result in a strong need to review the global cost estimate.
The procedure to obtain the cost estimates should first be agreed between the partners. Comparison needs to be made with similar exercises that have been performed for other large-scale facilities such as SNS, IFMIF, RJH projects. The level of uncertainties should be updated as a function of the design work performed in the other work packages.
The operational cost of the facility will be assessed on basis of experience from existing MTR's operational cost as well as large accelerator based facilities such as ISOLDE or ESRF. Finally a financing scheme for both investments as well as operation cost will be sketched by the CDT for FASTEF.

Task 4.3. Licensing procedure in both modes (SCK•CEN)
A consultation with the Belgian regulatory bodies will be performed to determine the several steps in the licensing procedure. An analysis will be performed of the main items relevant for the Safety Assessment Report. In this analysis, attention will be given to the aspects specific for subcritical and critical mode operation. Also, the optimal sequence for licensing in terms of sequence of subcritical and critical phases will be studied taking into account all boundary conditions.

Task 4.4. Operation mode analysis, R&D needs and activities (KIT, ENEA, SCK•CEN, CNRS, UPM)
At the end of the project, an analysis of the operation mode (subcritical, critical) and its impact on the objectives of the facility will be made taking into account the different elements available at the end of the project.
An R&D catalogue with new R&D needs in the aid of design and construction of the Fast Spectrum Transmutation Experimental Facility will be established as well as a critical assessment of the already accomplished R&D support activities performed in support of PDS-XADS or MYRRHA/XT-ADS. The objective of this analysis is to foster the R&D support programme towards the realisation of the FASTEF. CDT will also monitor the progress of R&D activities underway for the construction of a next-step European Transmutation Demonstration facility with minor-actinide fuel in synergy with teams that are engaged in the feasibility study of an associated pilot-scale chemical separation facility and an advanced fuel-production unit in Europe.

Deliverables

D4.1 Fuel design procurement, demonstration & qualification (SCK•CEN) (M24)
D4.2.1 Global cost estimate of FASTEF interim report (SCK•CEN) (M18)
D4.2.2 Global cost estimate of FASTEF final report (SCK•CEN) (M36)
D4.3.1 Licensing procedure of FASTEF interim report (SCK•CEN) (M18)
D4.3.1 Licensing procedure of FASTEF final report (SCK•CEN) (M36)
D4.4 Operation mode, R&D needs and activities (KIT) (M36)