The U.S. Department of Energy is funding five projects to develop advanced nuclear reactor designs


Original title: The U.S. Department of Energy is funding five projects to develop advanced nuclear reactor designs. Source: cnBeta.COM

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is funding five projects to develop advanced nuclear reactor designs, which will be built in the United States by private companies.According to the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP), the initial funding of US$30 million for the Office of Nuclear Energy of the Department of Energy is expected to grow to US$600 million within 7 years, and industry will provide 20% of the additional funding.

Although nuclear power has been unpopular in Western countries over the past few decades, the need for a carbon-neutral future seems to be ready, which will trigger a new generation of advanced reactors, and the dominant nuclear power since the 1950s The industry’s light water pressurized reactors are completely different.

The goal of the latest grant from the Department of Energy is to promote the development of reactors that will be deployed within 10 to 14 years. These reactors are not only more efficient and more economical, but also inherently safer to operate. They are designed to use stronger fuels and the cooling system The reactor can be passively kept from melting when there is no electricity available.

The five reactor concepts under development include the Hermes scale-down experimental reactor at Kairos Power in Alameda, California. This advanced test reactor aims to build a commercial-scale Kairos Power Fluoride Salt Cooled High Temperature Reactor (KP-FHR), which is based on three-structure ISOtropic (TRISO) pellet fuel and is cooled by a low-pressure fluoride salt coolant.

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TRISO fuel comes in the form of pellets, composed of uranium, carbon and oxygen, and then encapsulated by three layers of carbon and a layer of ceramic to prevent the release of radioactive waste. These poppy seed-sized particles are then collected together into cylindrical particles or billiard-sized spheres that can withstand high temperatures in air-cooled or salt-cooled reactors.

The second project is Westinghouse Electric’s eVinci microreactor, which is a heat pipe cooled microreactor, which will be completed in 2024 as part of the technology demonstration. Heat pipe reactors usually consist of a solid core with fuel inserted into holes in the block. The heat pipe contains a liquid. When the liquid vaporizes, it can take heat away from the core and then bring the heat to the heat exchanger for cooling and power generation.

The purpose of the demonstration is to evaluate the risks of this design and determine how to improve the manufacturing and efficiency of the heat pipe system.

The third project is the BWXT Advanced Nuclear Reactor (BANR) of BWXT Advanced Technologies in Lynchburg, Virginia. This is a transportable micro-reactor that also uses TSIRO fuel to achieve a higher concentration of uranium, and an improved core design using a silicon carbide matrix.

The fourth project is the Holtec SMR-160 reactor of Holtec Government Services in Camden, New Jersey. This is a small modular reactor based on the light water reactor design. The advantage of a modular reactor is that it can be mass-produced in the factory, or it can be expanded by adding additional modules on site.

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Finally, there is a molten chloride reactor experiment at Southern Company Services in Birmingham, Alabama. In this 1200 MW critical fast spectrum salt reactor design, fuel is mixed with molten salt coolant. The reaction takes place inside the salt, keeping it molten. Molten salt reactors are more efficient because they can operate at higher temperatures than traditional reactors.

“All these projects will speed up the timetable for the United States to deploy advanced nuclear reactors domestically and globally, which will improve safety and be affordable to build and operate,” said US Secretary of Energy Dan Brauillet. “Leadership in advanced technology is very important to the country’s future, because nuclear energy plays such a critical role in our clean energy strategy.”

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