dual-purpose reactor[¦dü·əl ¦pər·pəs rē′ak·tər]
a nuclear reactor designed both for the production of new nuclear fuel in the core, as well as for the production of electric power.
The coolant, moderator, and design elements of a dual-purpose reactor are selected so as to maintain the maximum nuclear fuel reproduction factor, sometimes even at the expense of significant lowering of the parameters of the coolant and the efficiency of the energy cycle.
Dual-purpose reactors may be based on fast or thermal neutrons or of the channel or shell types, with a separate nuclear fuel reproduction zone. The most widespread dual-purpose reactors are channel reactors with graphite moderators and water or gas coolants, using slightly enriched uranium as fuel. Dual-purpose reactors have reproduction factors of ~0.7–1.1 using thermal neutrons and 1.3–1.8 using fast neutrons. There is a tendency to design dual-purpose reactors based on fast neutrons. For example, the Enrico Fermi dual-purpose reactor (USA) has a fuel reproduction factor of ~ 1.5, with an electric power output of 66 megawatts.
V. P. VASILEVSKII