Introduction to ADANES Research in China
China is the largest energy consumer in the world and the coal is still the major resource nowadays. To reduce the CO2 emission, China plans to increase nuclear power capacity up to 58 GWe by 2020, and probably more than 100 GWe by 2030. But the nuclear waste disposition and sufficient fuel supply are the barriers on sustainable development of nuclear power. A totally new nuclear energy system called Accelerator Driven Advanced Energy System (ADANES) was proposed to resolve the two problems by the team of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). It consists of an ADS Burner (ADB) and a system of Accelerator Driven Recycle Used Fuel (ADRUF).
ADB, as the normal concept of Accelerate Driven System (ADS) and suggested by IAEA in 2002, is recognized as one of the most efficient ways to transmute minor-actinides. It consists of a high-power proton accelerator, a high-power spallation target, and a sub-critical reactor. The high-flux fast neutrons, produced by tens milliamp protons with energy of ~ GeV hitting target, maintain the nuclear fission chain reaction in the sub-critical reactor.
Taking the advantage of the powerful external neutrons, the ADB can achieve transmutation, breeding and energy production simultaneously with the recycled used fuel prepared by ADRUF system by simply excluding most of the fission products from all kinds of used fuel. Then, an ideal fuel cycle can be closed which is quite different from the so-call P-T strategy. The only nuclear waste from the ADANES cycle is mainly the fission products and almost all of the U, Pu and MA will be burned out. With ADANES, the utilization rate of uranium resource up to ~95% can be reached and the radiation level of the nuclear waste can be down to the level of natural uranium ore within hundreds of years. It makes the nuclear power based on uranium become a safe, clean and sustainable energy up to thousands of years.
As for the development of ADANES, a 20-year plan has been made which is divided into four stages. The first stage is from 2011 to 2016 aiming at breakthroughs of key technologies related to ADB and ADRUF. The Chinese Academy of Sciences launched a program on ADS research aiming at nuclear waste transmutation in 2011, under supporting of the Strategic Technology Pilot Project. In the second stage, the high-power ADB research facility China initiative Accelerator Driven System (CiADS) and an ADRUF research facility with a hot cell and a compact neutron source will be constructed from 2018 to 2024. CiADS consists of a 2.5 MW superconducting proton LINAC with 500 MeV and 5 mA, a liquid LBE cooled fast reactor with 10 MWt, and a granular flow target employed to coupling the accelerator and the sub-critical core. The third stage will succeed in around 2030 to demonstrate an industrial-scale facility of ADANES. The fourth stage will be the domain of the nuclear power company to construct ADANES type of commercial power plants.