Nuclear Technology / Volume 149 / Number 3 / March 2005 / Pages 324-336
Technical Paper / Thermal Hydraulics
This paper describes research on improving the Brayton cycle efficiency for a high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR). In this study, we are investigating the efficiency of an indirect helium Brayton cycle for the power conversion side of an HTGR power plant. A reference case based on a 250-MW(thermal) pebble bed HTGR was developed using helium gas as a working fluid in both the primary and power conversion sides. The commercial computer code HYSYS was used for process optimization. A numerical model using the Visual-Basic (V-B) computer language was also developed to assist in the evaluation of the Brayton cycle efficiency. Results from both the HYSYS simulation and the V-B model were compared with Japanese calculations based on the 300-MW(electric) Gas Turbine High-Temperature Reactor (GTHTR) that was developed by the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute. After benchmarking our models, parametric investigations were performed to see the effect of important parameters on the cycle efficiency. We also investigated single-shaft versus multiple-shaft arrangements for the turbomachinery. The results from this study are applicable to other reactor concepts such as fast gas-cooled reactors, supercritical water reactors, and others.
The ultimate goal of this study is to use other fluids such as supercritical carbon dioxide for the HTGR power conversion loop in order to improve the cycle efficiency over that of the helium Brayton cycle. This study is in progress, and the results will be published in a subsequent paper.