Web workshop: Separating nuclear reactors from the power block with heat storage

July 27, 2020, 3:06PMANS News

A three-part free webinar workshop, Separating Nuclear Reactors from the Power Block with Heat Storage: A New Power Plant Design Paradigm, will run for three upcoming Wednesdays, starting this week on July 29. The workshop is being hosted jointly by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Idaho National Laboratory (INL), and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

The workshop directors are Charles Forsberg of MIT, Piyush Sabharwall of INL, and Andrew Sowder of EPRI.

The workshop is free but registration is required.

Background: Nuclear plant design has followed fossil plant design with tight integration of the reactor and the power block that includes the turbine generator. This workshop examines an alternative system design, proposed by several reactor developers, that incorporates large-scale multi-gigawatt-hour heat storage between the reactor and the power block.

This change in plant design is driven by changes in electricity markets—the addition of wind and solar that causes price volatility and the goal of a low-carbon grid.

The reactor, operating at baseload, is a heat production system that converts a cold heat-storage medium, such as salt, to a hot storage medium that is sent to a second tank. The reactor is decoupled from the production of electricity or heat to industry. The power cycle takes hot salt or other storage fluid, produces variable electricity for the grid with a peak output that may be several times the power output of the reactor, and sends cold salt or other fluid to the cold fluid storage tank. Heat can be sent to industry. If there is very-low-price electricity, electricity can be bought and converted to stored heat for later use.

The three sessions: Each of the workshop's three sessions will run on different days, as follows:

Session 1, July 29: Markets, Requirements and Systems Design (10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. EDT)

Session 2, August 12: Technologies for Heat Storage and Power Cycles (10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. EDT)

Session 3, August 26: Economics, Business Strategies and Demonstration Strategies (10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. EDT)

Details: Each session will include time for questions after each speaker and time after all talks for questions and general discussions among the participants. The presentations will be posted after each session.

Registration for the workshop is required.

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