Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems: Heat Transfer Issues and Trends
Almost 450 nuclear power plants are currently operating throughout the world and supplying about 17% of the world’s electricity. These plants perform safely, reliably, and have no free-release of byproducts to the environment. Given the current rate of growth in electricity demand and the ever growing concerns for the environment, the US consumer will favor energy sources that can satisfy the need for electricity and other energy-intensive products (1) on a sustainable basis with minimal environmental impact, (2) with enhanced reliability and safety and (3) competitive economics. Given that advances are made to fully apply the potential benefits of nuclear energy systems, the next generation of nuclear systems can provide a vital part of a long-term, diversified energy supply. The Department of Energy has begun research on such a new generation of nuclear energy systems that can be made available to the market by 2030 or earlier, and that can offer significant advances toward these challenging goals . These future nuclear power systems will require advances in materials, reactor physics as well as heat transfer to realize their full potential. In this paper, a summary of these advanced nuclear power systems is presented along with a short synopsis of the important heat transfer issues. Given the nature of research and the dynamics of these conceptual designs, key aspects of the physics will be provided, with details left for the presentation.