breeder reactor

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breeder reactor:

see nuclear reactornuclear reactor,
device for producing controlled release of nuclear energy. Reactors can be used for research or for power production. A research reactor is designed to produce various beams of radiation for experimental application; the heat produced is a waste product and is
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Breeder Reactor


a nuclear reactor in which an initial quantity of nuclear fuel is consumed and then reproduced in a greater quantity as a fissile nuclear fuel. As a rule, both the fuel consumed and the fuel produced in the reactor are made up of the same chemical element, either plutonium or uranium. Fuel is produced as a result of the interaction of the neutrons released in the fission of the initial fuel with the nuclei of a substance known as the fuel blanket (source material), which is placed in the reactor. In uranium-plutonium fast-breeder reactors 239Pu serves as the initial fuel, and 238U as the fuel blanket. The fissile material produced, 239Pu, is formed through the capture of free neutrons by the uranium nuclei. In uranium-thorium fast or slow breeder reactors, 233U serves as the initial fuel, and 232Th as the fuel blanket; 233U is the fuel produced. The doubling time, the time in which the mass of the produced fuel becomes twice as great as the beginning mass of the initial fuel, is an important quantity characterizing the operation of a breeder reactor.

The only natural nuclear fuel is 235U, and it constitutes in the natural mixture of uranium isotopes only 0.71 percent. Breeder reactors thus markedly increase the fuel base of the nuclear power industry by employing substances that cannot themselves sustain a fission reaction. Therefore, in the industrially developed countries, great attention is devoted to the problem of constructing reliable and economical breeder reactors. In the USSR, such work was started in 1949 under the direction of A. I. Leipunskii. After the construction of a series of experimental breeder reactors, the first large breeder reactor in the world, the BN-350, went into operation in 1973 at a 150-megawatt nuclear power plant in the city of Shevchenko in the Kazakh SSR. A BN-600 breeder reactor, designed for use in a 600-megawatt plant, is currently under construction.


breeder reactor

[′brēd·ər rē′ak·tər]
A nuclear reactor that produces more fissionable material that it consumes.

breeder reactor

a type of nuclear reactor that produces more fissionable material than it consumes
References in periodicals archive ?
In the 1970s, breeder advocates were predicting that the world would have thousands of breeder reactors operating by now.
The breeder reactor dream is not dead, but it has receded far into the future," suggests Frank yon Hippel, co-chair of IPFM and professor of public and international affairs at Princeton University.
Breeder reactors and reprocessing are not commercial after six decades of development of sodium cooled breeder reactors, and enormous expenditures.
After six decades and the expenditure of the equivalent of tens of billions of dollars, the promise of breeder reactors remains largely unfulfilled and efforts to commercialize them have been steadily cut back in most countries.
Breeder reactors have always underpinned the DAE's claims about generating large quantities of cheap electricity necessary for development.
The rationale for breeder reactors is no longer sound.
Realizing the technology's enormous potential, other countries--including India, Russia, the United Kingdom, Japan, and France--have also attempted to develop breeder reactors, but the experience of Japan and France is most instructive and provides some perspective on the U.
For instance, it was claimed that the release of one ton of plutonium into the atmosphere could give every person on earth lung cancer, and operating breeder reactors on a large scale would double the amount of plutonium on earth every ten years ("AEC Asks Billions for the Breeder" 1971).
For the most part, the development of breeder reactors was left largely to the federal government.
Though it was meant to be part of a larger breeder reactor that was never built, the first MSR was a simple burner, of comparable size to Terrestrial's system.
Perhaps that is why TerraPower is reportedly exploring agreements with China and India even though China has little experience with sodium-cooled breeder reactors and India's record so far hardly inspires confidence, having been plagued by leaks and accidents.
Japan will scrap plans to generate electricity at its multi-billion dollar experimental Monju fast breeder reactor, a media report said Friday, in a move that could affect the nation's nuclear fuel cycle programme.