Modular Pebble Bed Reactor
Author(s)Kadak, Andrew C.; Ballinger, Ronald G.; Driscoll, Michael J.; Yip, Sidney; Wilson, David Gordon; No, Hee Cheon; Wang, Jing; MacLean, Heather; Galen, Tamara; Wang, Chunyun; Lebenhaft, Julian; Zhai, Tieliang; Petti, David A.; Terry, William K.; Gougar, Hans D.; Ougouag, Abderrafi M.; Oh, Chang H.; Moore, Richard L.; Miller, Gregory K.; Maki, John T.; Smolik, Galen R.; Varacalle, Dominic J.; ... Show more Show less
Advanced Nuclear Power Technology Program (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
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This project is developing a fundamental conceptual design for a gas-cooled, modular, pebble bed reactor. Key technology areas associated with this design are being investigated which intend to address issues concerning fuel performance, safety, core neutronics and proliferation resistance, economics and waste disposal. Research has been initiated in the following areas: • Improved fuel particle performance • Reactor physics • Economics • Proliferation resistance • Power conversion system modeling • Safety analysis • Regulatory and licensing strategy Recent accomplishments include: • Developed four conceptual models for fuel particle failures that are currently being evaluated by a series of ABAQUS analyses. Analytical fits to the results are being performed over a range of important parameters using statistical/factorial tools. The fits will be used in a Monte Carlo fuel performance code, which is under development. • A fracture mechanics approach has been used to develop a failure probability model for the fuel particle, which has resulted in significant improvement over earlier models. • Investigation of fuel particle physio-chemical behavior has been initiated which includes the development of a fission gas release model, particle temperature distributions, internal particle pressure, migration of fission products, and chemical attack of fuel particle layers. • A balance of plant, steady-state thermal hydraulics model has been developed to represent all major components of a MPBR. Component models are being refined to accurately reflect transient performance. • A comparison between air and helium for use in the energy-conversion cycle of the MPBR has been completed and formed the basis of a master’s degree thesis. • Safety issues associated with air ingress are being evaluated. • Post shutdown, reactor heat removal characteristics are being evaluated by the Heating-7 code. • PEBBED, a fast deterministic neutronic code package suitable for numerous repetitive calculations has been developed. Use of the code has focused on scoping studies for MPBR design features and proliferation issues. Publication of an archival journal article covering this work is being prepared. • Detailed gas reactor physics calculations have also been performed with the MCNP and VSOP codes. Furthermore, studies on the proliferation resistance of the MPBR fuel cycle has been initiated using these code • Issues identified during the MPBR research has resulted in a NERI proposal dealing with turbo-machinery design being approved for funding beginning in FY01. Two other NERI proposals, dealing with the development of a burnup “meter” and modularization techniques, were also funded in which the MIT team will be a participant. • A South African MPBR fuel testing proposal is pending ($7.0M over nine years).
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Center for Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems. Advanced Nuclear Power Program