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The Encapsulated Nuclear Heat Source for Proliferation-Resistant Low-Waste Nuclear Energy

Encapsulated Nuclear Heat Source (ENHS) is a small innovative reactor suitable for use in developing countries. The reference design is a SOMWe lead-bismuth eutectic (Pb-Bi) cooled fast reactor. It is designed so that the fuel is installed and sealed into the reactor module at the factory. The nuclear controls, a major portion of the instrumentation and the Pb-Bi covering the core are also installed at the factory. At the site of operations the reactor module is inserted into a pool of Pb-Bi that contains the steam generators. Major components, such as the pool vessel and steam generators, are permanent and remain in place while the reactor module is replaced every 15 years. At the end of life the sealed reactor module is removed and returned to an internationally controlled recycling center. Thus, the ENHS provides a unique capability for ensuring the security of the nuclear fuel throughout its life. The design also can minimize the user country investment in nuclear technology and staff. Following operation and return of the module to the recycling facility, the useable components, including the fuel, are refurbished and available for reuse. A fuel cycle compatible with this approach has been identified that reduces the amount of nuclear waste.

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