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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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

breeder reactor

[′brēd·ər rē′ak·tər]
A nuclear reactor that produces more fissionable material that it consumes.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

breeder reactor

a type of nuclear reactor that produces more fissionable material than it consumes
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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.
Breeder Reactors. The breeder reactor program is integral to the second stage of India's three-stage nuclear development plan.
It would be very expensive to produce that much plutonium from scratch; by 1990, according to the D.O.E.'s fiscal 1986 budget request, the replacement value of the plutonium from the breeder reactor alone would be $1 billion.
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.
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.
"We demand that Japan withdraw from fast breeder reactor development completely."
Before building the Monju reactor, Japan constructed an experimental fast breeder reactor, named Joyo, in Oarai, Ibaraki Prefecture, which reached criticality in 1977.
But energy demand tapered off with slower economic growth in Japan, and the development of fast-breeder reactors stopped when the Monju Fast Breeder reactor in Fukui Prefecture had to be shut down after a serious accident in December 1995.