Heat Exchanger Design Considerations for Gas Turbine HTGR Power Plant

[+] Author and Article Information
C. F. McDonald, T. Van Hagan, K. Vepa

General Atomic Co., Advanced Concepts Division, San Diego, Calif.

J. Eng. Power 99(2), 237-245 (Apr 01, 1977) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3446278 History: Received December 22, 1975; Online July 14, 2010


The Gas Turbine High Temperature Gas Cooled Reactor (GT-HTGR) power plant combines the existing design HTGR core with a closed-cycle helium gas turbine power conversion system directly in the reactor primary circuit. Unlike open-cycle gas turbines where the recuperative heat exchanger is an optional component, the high cycle efficiency of the nuclear closed-cycle gas turbine is attributable to a high degree to the incorporation of the recuperator (helium-to-helium) and precooler (helium-to-water) exchangers in the power conversion loop. For the integrated plant configuration, a nonintercooled cycle with a high degree of heat recuperation was selected on the basis of performance and economic optimization studies. A recuperator of high effectiveness was chosen because it significantly reduces the optimum pressure ratio (for maximum cycle efficiency), and thus reduces the number of compressor and turbine stages for the low molecular weight, high specific heat, helium working fluid. Heat rejection from the primary system is effected by a helium-to-water precooler, which cools the gas to a low level prior to compression. The fact that the rejection heat is derived from the sensible rather than the latent heat of the cycle working fluid results in dissipation over a wide band of temperature, the high average rejection temperature being advantageous for either direct air cooling or for generation of power in a waste heat cycle. The high heat transfer rates in the recuperator (3100 MWt) and precooler (1895 MWt), combined with the envelope restraints associated with heat exchanger integration in the prestressed concrete reactor vessel, require the use of more compact surface geometries than in contemporary power plant steam generators. Various aspects of surface geometry, flow configuration, mechanical design, fabrication, and integration of the heat exchangers are discussed for a plant in the 1100 MWe class. The influence of cycle parameters on the relative sizes of the recuperator and precooler are also presented. While the preliminary designs included are not meant to represent final solutions, they do embody features that satisfy many of the performance, structural, safety, and economic requirements.

Copyright © 1977 by ASME
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