breeder reactor

(redirected from breeder reactors)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.

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
..... Click the link for more information.

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 ?
For the most part, government interest in breeder reactors severely waned in the 1980s and officially came to an end in 1994, when the ERB-II reactor in Idaho was finally shut down and funding for research stopped.
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.
Stage two envisions plutonium-fueled breeder reactors blanketed with thorium to produce uranium-233.
Profant says that the head end has been designed specifically to prepare spent fuel from the Hanford breeder reactor for the Purex plant.
Indigenously produced Mixed Uranium & Plutonium Oxide will be used as the fuel in the Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor at Kalpakkam.
Bhardwaj said that fast breeder reactors are the future for the nuclear power industry, and that France and Japan also are moving in that direction.
44) Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns told reporters in a press conference on March 2, 2006, that "India has agreed that in the future all of its future civilian power reactors, thermal reactors and breeder reactors, will be placed under international safeguards.
Cost for Fast Breeder Reactors 1&2 is yet to be finalised.
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.
The world's only 500 MW Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor is at an advanced stage of construction at Kalpakkam south of Chennai, a plant that will generate more fuel than it consumes.
We demand that Japan withdraw from fast breeder reactor development completely.