The fast reactor programme in Japan is seen as part of their national nuclear fuel recycling programme (IAEA-TECDOC-1289, 2002; IAEA-TECDOC-1083, 1999). The FBR is under consideration to become the future long-term alternative to LWRs (IAEA-TEC — DOC-1083, 1999). Experience has been assimilated on fast reactor performance over the past 20 years. The experimental fast reactor ‘Joyo’, has been in operation during this period with good performance. The Power Reactor and Nuclear Fuel Development Corporation (PNC) also built a 280 MWe prototype fast reactor ‘Monju’ that operated until it was shut down in 1995 due to leak in the non-radioactive secondary circuit. The experience is being taken into account in the design of the 600 MWe DFBR, currently in progress.

The DFBR design includes a top-entry loop style arrangement. The primary circuit consists of a reactor vessel, three IHX vessels and three pump vessels. The secondary side is made up of a secondary pump, a once-through steam generator and connecting pipes on each loop. There are two shutdown systems.

The fuel is a Pu-U mixed oxide fuel and the core has two homogeneous regions with different plutonium enrichments. The core is designed for two phases of operation, an initial phase to produce an average burn-up of 90,000 MWd t_1 over a 13 to 15 month period with breeding radios of 1.2 or 1.05, with and without a radial blanket, respectively. An average burn-up of 15,000 MWd t_1 is envisaged for the high burn-up phase over an operating cycle of 20 months.

Research and development of the DFBR is via a collaboration between the PNC, the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute (JAERI), the Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry (CRIEPI) and the Japan Atomic Power Company (JAPC).

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