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The Sodium Reactor Experiment
In February 1957, construction was completed on the Sodium Reactor Experiment (SRE), a sodium-cooled, graphite-moderated reactor with an output of 20 MWt. The design of theSRE had begun three years earlier in 1954, and construction started in April 1955. On April 25, 1957, the reactor reached criticality, and the SRE operated until February 1964.
Jarrod M. Gogolski, Kathryn M. L. Taylor-Pashow, Tracy S. Rudisill, Michael L. Restivo, John M. Pareizs, Robert J. Lascola, Patrick E. O’Rourke, William. E. Daniel
Nuclear Technology | Volume 208 | Number 12 | December 2022 | Pages 1867-1875
Technical Paper | doi.org/10.1080/00295450.2022.2092358
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The dissolution of used nuclear fuel generates a variety of off-gasses including flammable hydrogen and other species that are a concern for environmental release. The H-Canyon facility at the Savannah River Site is currently dissolving aluminum-clad research reactor fuel from material test reactors and the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) using a mercury-catalyzed nitric acid flowsheet. Savannah River National Laboratory recently developed and deployed a Raman spectrometer to monitor the off-gas stream from the dissolution process. Results from these measurements indicated a lack of the expected hydrogen, nitrous oxide, and nitric oxide in the off-gas stream. It was proposed that the silver on the silver nitrate–coated berl saddles present in the reactors for iodine capture were acting as a catalytic hydrogen recombiner. Nitric oxide is readily oxidized to nitrogen dioxide under normal conditions, but it was unclear what happened to the nitrous oxide. A laboratory-scale iodine reactor was assembled and filled with silver nitrate–coated berl saddles to help ascertain the fate of nitrous oxide and hydrogen. Testing with this laboratory-scale reactor observed the recombination of hydrogen when a simulated dissolver off-gas was passed through the reactor containing silver nitrate–coated berl saddles at the approximate temperatures seen in H-Canyon. However, the nitrous oxide concentration was unchanged, suggesting a more complex process occurring within the off-gas stream before it reaches the iodine reactors at H-Canyon.