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US DOE Awards $7.3 million for “Deep-Burn” Nuclear Technology Research & Development

One of the unique features of the high temperature gas-cooled reactor is the TRISO fuel used for the fission reaction. Click to enlarge.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected teams led by Idaho National Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory to advance the technology of nuclear fuel “Deep-Burn” in which plutonium and higher transuranics recycled from spent nuclear fuel are destroyed while generating energy. This technology advances nuclear power production and reduces the amount of radioactive waste produced in the end.

These R&D activities are aimed at establishing the technological foundations that will support the role of the Very-High-Temperature, gas-cooled Reactor (VHTR) in the nuclear fuel cycle, one of the prototype reactors being researched under the DOE’s Generation IV Nuclear power program. (Earlier post.) The work will be carried out in two parts: Advanced Modeling and Simulation Capability for VHTR Development and Design at a cost of $1 million led by Argonne National Laboratory; and Transuranic Management Capabilities of the Deep-Burn VHTR at a cost of $6.3 million led by Idaho National Laboratory.

Through a competitive process, two national laboratories teams from Idaho National Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory were selected for work totaling $7.3 million. The laboratories are partnering with other national laboratories, universities, and industry on the project.

The concept of destruction of spent fuel transuranics in a TRISO-fueled (TRIstructural ISOtropic) gascooled reactor is known as Deep-Burn. The term “Deep-Burn” reflects the large fractional burnup of up to 60-70% fissions per initial metal atoms (FIMA) that can be achieved with a single pass, multi-cycle irradiation in these reactors. The concept is particularly attractive because it employs the same reactor design that is used for the NGNP program, with the same potential for highly efficient electricity and hydrogen production. Spent TRISO fuel from Deep-Burn can be either placed directly into geologic storage to provide long-term containment to the residual radioactivity or recycled for fast reactor fuel.

In parallel to the physics analysis, preliminary work has indicated that, due to the large amount of useful energy that can be extracted from the Deep-Burn TRISO fuel (up to 20 times larger than from mixedoxide (MOX) fuel in LWRs), it may be possible to recover all or part of the costs of reprocessing LWR spent fuel. The Deep-Burn concept creates a completely different paradigm for the near-term economics of closed fuel cycles if the cost of spent LWR fuel reprocessing can be offset by the value of the recovered transuranics (TRU) in a Deep-Burn reactor producing power at competitive cost.

As indicated in the course of previous analysis, the Deep-Burn gas-cooled reactor will be nearly identical to the Low-Enriched Uranium (LEU) version currently under development for commercial applications. All of the engineering elements of the Deep-Burn concept that relate to the reactor core and the power production are common to the NGNP and are being addressed in the NGNP program and the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Gas Turbine Modular Helium Reactor (GT-MHR) program for weapons-plutonium disposition. Although the deep-burn TRISO fuel shares common elements with the TRISO fuel proposed for the NGNP TRISO fuel and the NNSA’s Plutonium (Pu)-TRISO fuel, many aspects of the Deep-Burn concept still need to be investigated. In order to further develop the technology basis and establish the practical feasibility of the Deep-Burn concept, DOE is initiating work to resolve many of the remaining issues associated with fabrication and performance of the special TRU-loaded TRISO fuel to be used in the Deep-Burn VHTRs.

—Funding Opportunity Number DE-PS07-08ID14907

The primary mission of the Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP) remains the production of high-temperature heat for use as a source of process heat for generation of electricity. A further goal of this work is to enable a quantitative assessment of the scope, cost and schedule implications of extending the NGNP mission in the future to destruction of plutonium and other transuranics.

The Deep-Burn R&D effort will be coordinated with the ongoing Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) programs to ensure synergism and to avoid duplication of efforts. The R&D that will be carried out is a part of DOE’s Generation IV program.


  • Funding Opportunity Number DE-PS07-08ID14907: Deep Burn: Development of Transuranic Fuel for High-Temperature Helium-Cooled Reactors


------"if we have to kill 1000 of our soldiers to save a million or more lives do it, thats what soldier are there for to DIE for"-----------

You are the most contemptable excuse for a human being I've ever encountered.

And you PRESUME to lecture me on safety and the dangers of radiation.

You can bet that I will double my efforts against ANY kind of nuclear power BECAUSE it is expounded by people with your attitude!!!

You don't deserve to be called an American and even allowed to live here.


@ Aug 18, 2008 4:45:37 PM

"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived."

- General George S. Patton, Jr

"No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country.
He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country."

- Attributed to General George Patton Jr


You are a pimple faced, snot nosed, pissy pants, little brat---and your daddy should have whipped your bare behind to teach you a little respect.

Don't think you can post somebody else's remarks and excuse yourself for being a complete jerk and low life.

If you suddenly want to get patriotic, join the Army and go fight for America. Then come back and tell me how worthless and expendable America's military personell are.

Naw, you are too self centered and self concerned, and soft assed to join the military and give something back to the country you want to give you everything you little greedy heart desires. You are a parasite.


Don’t lecture me on patriotism wetdog, the fact that you get to rant on here is BECAUSE of people like me. I spent 12 years in the service, 2 tours of Bosnia and 2 in Iraq with the Marines so yes I have chewed dirt, and dealt my share of death, Soldiers and Marines die that’s war it sucks but someone must do it, if we have to sacrifice some soldiers or Marines to win a war then it must be done. I have lost friends guys I went to boot with in OIF. Its leftists like you that are bringing this country down not brave men who are willing to make the sacrifices or sacrifice others to win a war.


As a military officer one is sometimes faced with the dicitions to send men to there certain deaths, there are times when the outcome of the losses justify the means. This is the same thing that was done in the atomic testing the data that was needed to ensure the survivial of our troops on a nuclear battlefield could not at the time be gotten without live human tests so the dicition was made to sacrifice some men for the good of the nation. This is what ALL men in uniform know might happen to them there government may call on them to die for it, and not tell them the reason other than to obey and do your duty. I have sent Marines into battles knowing 5% would not come back but we needed the stronghold and sometimes you have to pay for it in blood. That is war its not pretty or fair its war the worst imaginable situation, but men of honor will fight and die for you it is there duty they all took an oath to die for this country and not question the reasons just do it. Something you will never ever understand wetdog you are a coward hiding on a computer in some warm room.


-----"Don’t lecture me on patriotism wetdog, the fact that you get to rant on here is BECAUSE of people like me."---------

I'll lecture you if I want to because I have earned the right to. You are a dirty lying little weasel. Hide under psuedonyms and lies if you want to, but I see through you.

A real officer would be able to spell decision---it is a word he would be VERY well familiar with.

Not "dicition"


Col. Jessep: Son, we live in a world that has walls and those walls need to be guarded by men with guns. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lieutenant Weinberg? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago and curse the Marines; you have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives and that my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use then as the backbone of a life trying to defend something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said "thank you," and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest that you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to.

From: A Few Good Men (1992)


“Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”---------Benjamin Franklin

I swore to preserve and uphold the Constitution of the United States and to protect and defend the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic. You are a domestic enemy. And we already know how heroic you are.

Kit P

Wetdog wants to debate morality. Wetdog is claiming that something that did not happen is wrong. Furthermore, no one is even suggesting that we do it.

No Americans or anyone else have been exposed to dangerous amounts of radiation form US activities since the end of WWII as a result of military activities or civilian generation of power.

We do know what dangerous levels of radiation are. Few things have been studied more than radiation exposure. Cancer patients are routinely treated with massive doses. Occasionally there have been mistakes resulting in cancer patients dying.

There have been mistakes in other countries when they have not followed our safety regulations.

It sounds like wetdog want to without medical treatment because medical workers and patients are at risk. I think wetdog has the right to refuse treatment. However, he has no moral authority to restrict the benefits to others.


It happened.



--------"There are far greater threats to continued existence, and money should be spent where the most risk is eliminated by the least expenditure."---------

Not building nuclear reactors eliminates the greatest risk at the least expenditure. Nothing at all.

Wetdog, you may have this atomic waste thing all wrong!

Title: Abundant health from radioactive waste

Author: T.D. Luckey

Address: 1719 Brandon Woods, Dr. Lawrence, KS 66047, USA

Journal: International Journal of Low Radiation 2008 - Vol. 5, No.1 pp. 71 - 82

Abstract: When beliefs are abandoned and evidence from only whole body exposures to mammals is considered, it becomes obvious that increased ionising radiation would provide abundant health. The best source for that increased exposure is radioactive waste. A radiation deficiency is seen in a variety of species, including rats and mice; the evidence for a radiation deficiency in humans is compelling. We live in a partial deficiency of an essential agent, ionising radiation. Health benefits from increased chronic exposure are briefly reviewed. Safe radiation supplementation with waste from nuclear reactors is examined.


THAT has got to be the stupidest post I have ever seen in my life.

And you are telling me MULES are stupid?

Mules are WAY more intelligent than you are.

“Dr. Kim opened our eyes.”

You have Dr. Kim to reference and I have T.D. Luckey to reference. How does stupid feel?

"Stupid is as stupid does."

The meaning of this expression is as follows:

It means that an intelligent person who does or says stupid things is still stupid. You are what you do or say.

How does stupid feel when you are on the receiving end? :-)

Comment on: Global energy crisis | Online debates | Economist.com at 8/21/2008 8:33 AM EDT

Joe Romm’s account of wind generation is to say the least curious. He tells us that we can expect to build, “1 million large wind turbines (2 megawatts peak power)”. But he adds ”Wind for vehicles: 2,000 gigawatts wind”.

So we have two million windmills in all. At 2008 the windmills alone would cost $7.2 trillion. But this is not all of the cost. The cost of new transmission lines might well being the cost to $8 trillion. This would not be the total cost, however.

A support infrastructure would have to be built as well. The price of windmills is inflating rapidly. Between 2004 and 2008 the price went up from about $1 million per MW of nameplate generating capacity, to $1.8 million per MW. The same factors that triggered this inflation are expected to continue.

Offshore windmills are even more expensive. One project offshore project near Long Island was recently canceled after it was learned that construction costs were expected to reach $5.7 million per nameplate MW.

The nameplate power generating capacity is not all that matters for wind. How much the wind blows and when it blows also matters. If demand for electricity occurs during the day, and the wind blows primarily at night, then electricity gets sold at a loss on the spot market, or even worse, if there are no takers, it is simply dumped. That is what happens with much Danish wind generated electricity, unfortunately. The problem of wind is most notable on hot summer days.

Although wind advocates claim that the wind is always blowing somewhere, this is not the case during the hottest hours on the hottest summer days. This is true all over North America, in California, Texas, the Northern Great Planes, New England, the South East and Ontario. When the wind drops fossil fuel plants, which have been on standby fire up, and start generating electricity. Often the generators are powered by natural gas, which is expensive, emits CO2 and is not a renewable resource.

There is another, little known fact about natural gas generators. In Texas, they emit a significant amount of a radioactive gas, Radon into the atmosphere. Thus windmills are tied to a power generating system that produces CO2 and releases a radioactive gas from a non-nuclear source. Joe Romm does not mention that.

The problem with wind can be explained simply. Just as we throw the switch to turn on the air conditioner, the wind dies, and the windmills die. If we are dependent on wind for electricity, on hot summer days when the windmills die, people will start to die too. In Europe during the heat wave in the summer of 2004 as many as 50,000 people died. Many of them, probably most were old. In Texas we know two words that will keep old folks alive on hot summer days. They are "air conditioning". Electrical generating systems that depend on wind are simply unreliable. They are potentially a danger to human health. Reliability is obtained at the price of burning fossil fuels, and in an age of global warming that is unacceptable. Money spent on windmills would be better spent on reliable generating systems, and the only completely reliable system none CO2 emitting electrical generating system is powered by nuclear energy.

Unfortunately Joe Romm will use his considerable intelligence and energy to tell you that nuclear will not work, rather that to figure out how it can.


--------"“Dr. Kim opened our eyes.”

You have Dr. Kim to reference and I have T.D. Luckey to reference. How does stupid feel?"---------

That wasn't one of my posts, and I have no idea who Dr. Kim is.

You'll have to tell me how stupid feels. If the insane ramblings of your reference are any indication, you should be well qualified to tell us.

I apologize for associated you with Dr. Kim. I now know that there are more radical and misguided thinkers in the world than you.

I try to keep my stupidity to a minimum by keeping an open mind; how about you?

Kit P

“It happened.”

What happened? I did not see any evidence that people were exposed to 'deadly radiation' or any significant exposure what so ever. I did see the simple precautions that were taken to prevent exposure and harm.

I suspect that wetdog's knowledge about radiation comes from movies, not research. In any case. Protecting people from harm it not hard.

Wetdog, did you know that there is radiation in cigarette smoke? No wonder why they are banning it from public places. Wetdog, I hope you don’t smoke and are spreading radiation to others.

The alpha emitter (bad radiation) polonium-210 is suspected of playing a role in lung and bladder cancer related to tobacco smoking.


-----"What happened? I did not see any evidence that people were exposed to 'deadly radiation' or any significant exposure what so ever. I did see the simple precautions that were taken to prevent exposure and harm."-----------

You didn't see it and neither did they. There is nothing to see, touch, taste, smell or hear. It is completely invisible. You don't know it is there. That is why you cann't see anything.

You saw simple procedures that were taken to prevent exposure and harm. Laughably simple. A broom. And also completely ineffective. But not laughably. Almost all of the peolple that you saw in that film being "decontaminated" with a broom after being exposed to a nuclear blast area minutes after a blast are dead now as a result. As you could see from the films, nuclear blasts generate millions of tons of dust that is carried high into the jet streams in the upper atmospere where they rain down radiation for months. The areas right in the vicinity of the blast will be black as night for many hours before the dust settles. No one in the film was wearing any kind of breathing protection. How are you going to decontaminate someone's lungs with a broom?

Kit P

“Almost all of the peolple ..... are dead now as a result.”

Again, wetdog presents no evidence to support his claim only his ignorance.

About 30 years after the making of this film I benefited from what was learned by receiving training in NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical) defense. On my ship I was responsible for the training of the crew in NBC defense. An independent organization verified our qualifications to safely protect the crew. Modern warships also have engineered features such the ability to envelope the ship in water spray in case of an NBC attack.

I am in an expert at protecting people from all manners of harm especially radiation. So let me explain what I saw that wetdog did not see. Those witnessing the atomic blast were shielded from direct radiation preventing significant exposure.

The concern with fallout is contamination in the form of fission products that are carried into the atmosphere by the mushroom cloud. You would not expect the dust form the shock wave to contaminate the soldiers in the trenches. They were not "decontaminated" because they were verified to not be contaminated in the first place.

The primary bad actor in fallout is I-131 and the population at risk is children. That was me during the era of above ground testing. If I had died in my teens or as young adult of thyroid cancer it could have been as a result of testing nuke weapons. Wetdog is a wimp if he is worried about radiation. When I was growing it was polio. If I get thyroid cancer now it is a result of living a long time and not dying of things like polio.

The evidence is pretty clear. I have read the studies. Testing of nuclear weapons did not pose a significant heath risk. Furthermore, we have stopped testing nuke weapon and are in the process of disarming.

For folks like wetdog there is a easy solution to thinking I am lying. Radiation is easy and cheap to measure. There are folks who pander to survivalists and those with irrational fear. They will sell a detector that you can carry around like a cell phone.


Well, I'm perfectly happy to have these posts publicly available where anyone who wants to can come and read them and decide for themselves who is ignorant and who isn't.

I think people can decide for themselves who has a real concern for their safety and that of their children and grandchildren. I think it is pretty clear which side is motivated by health, safety, common sense, and genuine concern and which is motivated by economic extortion, greed and self interest, conciet, vainity and callous, arrogant disregard for others.

Kit P

Now I understand wetdog's game. Having the most concern is the measurement of worthiness of your position.

Wetdog still does not provide any evidence of a reason for to me concerned. If wetdog wants to denigrate as callous the decision making of greatest generation of Americans who defeated totalitarianism without any evidence; I would be concerned about wetdogs lack of character.

As for our children and grandchildren, wetdog has also not provided any evidence for them either. As wetdog has testified he likes to show pictures to fear monger, I would be concerned about wetdogs lack of character.


------"Having the most concern is the measurement of worthiness of your position"-------------


I'll leave it to the people reading these posts to decide who has more concern them and the ones they love, you or I. It's all right them for them in black and white.

As for my character, how would you know? All you know is name calling and harrasment, lies and self indulgence. You're just a spoiled little brat. You wouldn't know character if it bit you on the behind.

Kit P

It is very easy for me to provide evidence of what is safe and what is dangerous. In 2007, there were over 5000 work place related fatalities in the US. Subtracting the 29 that were killed as result of working on the power lines, leaves 4 killed in the entire utility industry. None were killed at a nuclear power plant. No one has been exposed to dangerous levels of radiation from the operation of US power plants. Making electricity is safe in the US when done by utilities.

Fishing is dangerous, roofing is dangerous, agriculture is dangerous, and logging is dangerous. If wetdog is going to maintain that we should not do something in the US because it is dangerous, you would think he could do better than a famous old smoker dying of cancer.

This ‘self indulgence’ and ‘spoiled little brat’ is very proud of our record of safe service to our customers.

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