Accelerator Driven Subcritical Reactor (ADSR) Technology
What we would like to realize for our clean energy future…
The successful operation of high-power superconducting radio-frequency particle accelerators at two US national laboratories allows us to consider a new kind of nuclear reactor that operates without the need for a critical core, fuel enrichment, or reprocessing. We consider a multipurpose reactor design that takes advantage of this new accelerator capability that includes an internal spallation neutron target and high-temperature molten-salt fuel with continuous purging of volatile radioactive fission products. The reactor contains less than a critical mass and a million times fewer volatile radioactive fission products than conventional reactors like those at Fukushima. These and other safety features will help to generate public enthusiasm for this new CO2-free and weapons proliferation-resistant technology.
A first application is to burn 34 tonnes of excess weapons grade plutonium as an important step in nuclear disarmament under the 2000 Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement. The process heat generated by this W-Pu can be used for the Fischer-Tropsch conversion of natural gas and renewable carbon into 42 billion gallons of low-CO2-footprint, drop-in, synthetic diesel fuel for the DOD at less than $2/g, to turn a $30B US government liability into a $40B
What follows is a brief description of the Mu*STAR consortium, comprised of our new company Mu*STAR and universities, national laboratories and private companies to develop GEM*STAR, a reactor that, without redesign, will burn spent nuclear fuel, natural uranium, thorium, or surplus weapons material.