Michael J. Driscoll
Professor Emeritus of Nuclear Science and Engineering (Emeritus)
1966 Sc.D. Nuclear Engineering, MIT
1958 Graduate, Oak Ridge School of Reactor Technology
1955 B.S. Chemical Engineering, Carnegie-Mellon
The use of deep boreholes as a preferred alternative for disposal of nuclear high level waste – spent fuel and/or its reprocessed constituents – has been under investigation at MIT since 1990. With the apparent demise of Yucca Mountain, this alternative has taken on renewed emphasis.
Reprocessing and recycle are not a near term prospect in the US. Thus development of a cost-effective (i.e. competitive with LWRs) once-through core design for fast reactors would enable their near term deployment, hence accelerate the transition to full breeder mode operation. We have made significant progress toward this goal, but more remains to be done.
Fast reactor capital costs must also be reduced to make them competitive. MIT has pioneered in the resurrection and improvement of the supercritical CO2 Brayton power cycle – which is projected to both significantly increase thermal efficiency and reduce capital cost compared to conventional Rankine cycle designs.
M. J. Driscoll, F. L. Bowman, "Core Catcher for Nuclear Reactor Core Meltdown Containment," Pat. No. 4,113,560, Sept. 12, 1978.
N. E. Todreas, M. J. Driscoll, P. Hejzlar, J. Tang, "Passive Pressure Tube Light Water Cooled and Moderated Reactor," Pat. No. 5,442,668, Aug. 15, 1995.