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Fast Breeder Reactors

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Fast Breeder Reactors

Abstract

In this report I will investigate how different breeder reactors operate, the many problems addressed by the Fast Breeder Reactor, including efficiency and cost, the disadvantages of Fast Breeder Reactors, and working examples that have been constructed throughout the world.

Introduction

There is another type of modern nuclear energy, an interesting idea that will grow on you, so to speak. If one were to think of an “alternative” nuclear energy source, a pebble bed fission reactor or namely fusion reactors come to mind. The Liquid Metal Fast Breeder reactor (FBR) is the alternate “alternative” reactor. FBRs first went critical (became operational) in 1951 with the American experimental EBR-1 in Idaho. FBRs, in principle, produce more fissile material than they produce. Although they still need a blend of stable fertile material with fissile fuel, the fact that they convert this mix to a unified fissile material while generating electricity at the same time is the primary reason these reactors are appealing. The technology used for FBRs has been consistently researched in the US, USSR, France, UK, Germany, Japan, China, and India at different points in time beginning in 1949 with initial design work performed on the EBR-I in the US (Encarta-2005). Asian countries currently lead the world in the effort being invested in this type of reactor. We could see a significant number of FBRs being built within the next 25 to 50 years, as the demand for fossil fuels increases with pollution and the constant and inefficient consumption of fossil fuel supplies by all nations. Are FBRs a viable energy source for California or the US? I will discuss the atomic process that FBRs use to operate, the problems the...

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