The renewed interest since 1990 in accelerator-driven subcritical systems for transmutation of commercial nuclear waste has evolved to focus on the issue of whether fast- or thermal-spectrum systems offer greater promise. This review addresses the issue by comparing the performance of the more completely developed thermal- and fast-spectrum designs. Substantial design information is included to allow an assessment of the viability of the systems compared. The performance criteria considered most important are () the rapidity of reduction of the current inventory of plutonium and minor actinide from commercial spent fuel, () the cost, and () the complexity. The liquid-fueled thermal spectrum appears to offer major advantages over the solid-fueled fast-spectrum system, making waste reduction possible with about half the capital requirement on a substantially shorter time scale and with smaller separations requirements.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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