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Load-Following Voltage Controller Design for a Static Space Nuclear Power System

Alexander G. Parlos, Fetiye O. Onbasioglu, John D. Metzger

Nuclear Science and Engineering

Volume 136 / Number 2 / October 2000 / Pages 227-246


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The reliability of static space nuclear power systems (SNPSs) could be improved through the use of backup devices in addition to shunt regulators, as currently proposed for load following. Shunt regulator failure leading to reactor shutdown is possible, as is the possible need to deliver somewhat higher power level to the load than originally expected. A backup system is proposed in SNPSs to eliminate the possibility of a single-point failure in the shunt regulators and to increase the overall system power delivery capability despite changing mission needs and component characteristics. The objective of this paper is to demonstrate the feasibility of such a backup device for voltage regulation in static SNPSs that is capable of overcoming system variations resulting from operation at different power levels. A dynamic compensator is designed using the Linear Quadratic Gaussian with Loop Transfer Recovery method. The resulting compensators are gain scheduled using the SNPS electric power as the scheduling variable, resulting in a nonlinear compensator. The performance of the gain-scheduled compensator is investigated extensively using an SNPS simulator. The simulations demonstrate the effects of the fuel temperature reactivity coefficient variations on the load-following capabilities of the SNPS. Robustness analysis results demonstrate that the proposed controller exhibits significant operational flexibility, and it can be considered for long-term space mission requiring significant levels of autonomy.

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