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Thermal Energy Storage Configurations for Small Modular Reactor Load Shedding

Konor Frick, Corey T. Misenheimer, J. Michael Doster, Stephen D. Terry, Shannon Bragg-Sitton

Nuclear Technology / Volume 202 / Number 1 / April 2018 / Pages 53-70

Technical Paper /

Received:August 30, 2017
Accepted:December 6, 2017
Published:March 16, 2018

The increased penetration of intermittent renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar power can strain electric grids, forcing carbon-based and nuclear sources of energy to operate in a load-follow mode. For nuclear reactors, load-follow operation can be undesirable due to the associated thermal and mechanical stresses placed on the fuel and other reactor components. Various methods of thermal energy storage (TES) can be coupled to nuclear (or renewable) power sources to help absorb grid variability caused by daily load demand changes and renewable intermittency. Two TES techniques are investigated as candidate thermal reservoirs to be used in conjunction with a small modular reactor (SMR): a two-tank sensible heat storage system and a stratified chilled-water storage system. The goal when coupling the two systems to the SMR is to match turbine output and demand and bypass steam to the TES systems to maintain reactor power at approximately 100%. Simulations of integral pressurized water reactor dynamics are run in a high-fidelity FORTRAN model developed at North Carolina State University. Both TES systems are developed as callable FORTRAN subroutines to model the time-varying behavior associated with different configurations of these systems when connected to the SMR simulator. Simulation results reveal the sensible heat storage system is capable of meeting turbine demand and maintaining reactor power constant while providing enough steam to power four absorption chillers for chilled-water production and storage. The stored chilled water is used to supplement cooling loads of an adjacent facility.

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