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Selection of Core Outlet Temperature and Impacts on Fast Reactor Economics

A. Moisseytsev, E. Hoffman, C. Grandy

Nuclear Technology / Volume 173 / Number 3 / Pages 251-269

March 2011


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The selection of the operating temperatures for a sodium-cooled fast reactor (SFR) always involves a trade-off between the plant performance and cost. In this work, the general trends with an increase of the core outlet temperature were calculated for the Advanced Burner Reactor (ABR). First, the benefits of higher temperatures in terms of the higher plant efficiency were calculated for several power conversion systems. To characterize the disadvantages of higher temperatures, the safety margins were investigated for the design conditions, normal operational transients, and beyond-design-basis accidents. The limiting criteria were identified for both oxide and metal fuel core designs. In addition, the effect of the higher temperatures on the structural thicknesses was estimated. A preliminary cost analysis incorporating both benefits and cost penalties of higher temperatures showed the economical benefit potential of higher temperatures, provided that the safety requirements are satisfied by the design and/or material selection.

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