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Finland in Front: The World’s Likely First Spent Fuel Repository Moves Toward Licensing
The year 2024 is shaping up to be a historic one for Posiva, the waste management organization owned by Finland’s two nuclear power plant utilities, Fortum and Teollisuuden Voima. The company is looking to receive regulatory approval of its operating license for the Onkalo deep geological repository for high-level radioactive waste by the end of the year.
P. Sabharwall, J. L. Hartvigsen, T. J. Morton, J. Yoo, S. Qin, M. Song, D. P. Guillen, T. Unruh, J. E. Hansel, J. Jackson, J. Gehin, H. Trellue, D. Mascarenas, R. S. Reid, C. M. Petrie
Nuclear Technology | Volume 209 | Number 1 | January 2023 | Pages S41-S59
Technical Paper | doi.org/10.1080/00295450.2022.2043087
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
This work provides a summary of selected experimental capabilities being developed to support nonnuclear testing and demonstration of technology in support of microreactors under the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Microreactor Program. Major capabilities include the Single Primary Heat Extraction and Removal Emulator (SPHERE) and the Microreactor Agile Non-nuclear Experimental Test Bed (MAGNET). The SPHERE facility allows for controlled testing of the steady-state and transient heat rejection capabilities of a single heat pipe using electrical heaters that simulate nuclear heating. The facility is capable of monitoring axial temperature profiles along the heat pipe and surrounding test articles during startup, steady-state operation, and transients. Instrumentation includes noncontact infrared thermal imaging, surface thermocouples, spatially distributed fiber optic temperature and strain sensors, electrical power meters, and a water-cooled, gas-gap calorimeter for quantifying heat rejection from the heat pipe. The facility can be operated under both vacuum and inert-gas conditions. The MAGNET facility is a large-scale, 250-kW electrically heated microreactor test bed to enable nonnuclear experimental evaluation of a variety of microreactor concepts. It can be supplied to electrically heat a scaled section of a microreactor and further test the capabilities of heat rejection systems. The initial MAGNET experiments will support technology maturation and reduce uncertainty and risk associated with the design, operation, and deployment of monolithic heat pipe–based reactors. However, this test bed can broadly be applied to multiple microreactor concepts to evaluate a wide range of thermal-hydraulic and structural phenomena such as interface coupling with power conversion units and other collocated systems. MAGNET can evaluate integral thermomechanical effects during electrical heating of an array of heat pipes in a larger test article. Examples of initial testing will include thermal stresses in the monolith and the impact of debonding of a heat pipe from the core block and how that failure could impact surrounding heat pipes, i.e., understanding the potential for cascading failure. This work also discusses some modeling capabilities that can support experiment design, analysis, and interpretation, including the heat pipe code Sockeye and a comparison of thermal-structural simulations performed using ABAQUS and STAR-CCM+.