Nuclear Technology / Volume 195 / Number 3 / September 2016 / Pages 223-238
Technical Paper / dx.doi.org/10.13182/NT16-2
The University of California, Berkeley (UCB), has developed a preconceptual design for a commercial pebble-bed (PB), fluoride salt–cooled, high-temperature reactor (FHR) (PB-FHR). The baseline design for this Mark-I PB-FHR (Mk1) plant is a 236-MW(thermal) reactor. The Mk1 uses a fluoride salt coolant with solid, coated-particle pebble fuel. The Mk1 design differs from earlier FHR designs because it uses a nuclear air-Brayton combined cycle designed to produce 100 MW(electric) of base-load electricity using a modified General Electric 7FB gas turbine. For peak electricity generation, the Mk1 has the ability to boost power output up to 242 MW(electric) using natural gas co-firing. The Mk1 uses direct heating of the power conversion fluid (air) with the primary coolant salt rather than using an intermediate coolant loop. By combining results from computational neutronics, thermal hydraulics, and pebble dynamics, UCB has developed a detailed design of the annular core and other key functional features. Both an active normal shutdown cooling system and a passive, natural-circulation-driven emergency decay heat removal system are included. Computational models of the FHR—validated using experimental data from the literature and from scaled thermal-hydraulic facilities—have led to a set of design criteria and system requirements for the Mk1 to operate safely and reliably. Three-dimensional, computer-aided-design models derived from the Mk1 design criteria are presented.