Nuclear Technology / Volume 175 / Number 2 / August 2011 / Pages 468-479
Technical Paper / Materials for Nuclear Systems
To improve the economic characteristics of fast reactors, researchers are developing advanced structural materials for application to reactor components. These advanced materials provide higher strength at elevated temperatures. Coupled thermal-hydraulic and structural analyses have been carried out to investigate the benefits of the advanced structural materials for a specific fast reactor design: the Advanced Burner Reactor (ABR) developed at Argonne National Laboratory. The benefits of the advanced materials, in terms of increased design margins, possible longer lifetime, thinner structures, and higher operating temperatures, were calculated for the major ABR structural components, including the reactor vessel, the core support structure, the intermediate heat exchanger, the intermediate heat transport system piping, and the steam generator. For each structure, the possible reduction in the component thickness was calculated and was converted into estimates of the commodities savings provided by the use of the advanced materials. Overall, a significant material mass saving of [approximately]40% was calculated for the considered fast reactor structures.