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Research Papers: Nuclear Power

Autonomous Control Strategies for Very High Temperature Reactor Based Systems for Hydrogen Production

[+] Author and Article Information
Pavel V. Tsvetkov

Department of Nuclear Engineering, Texas A&M University, 129 Zachry Engineering Center, MS 3133 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-3133tsvetkov@tamu.edu

Ayodeji B. Alajo, David E. Ames

Department of Nuclear Engineering, Texas A&M University, 129 Zachry Engineering Center, MS 3133 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-3133

J. Eng. Gas Turbines Power 131(5), 052906 (Jun 11, 2009) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3098427 History: Received November 29, 2008; Revised December 07, 2008; Published June 11, 2009

This paper is focused on feasible autonomous control strategies for Generation IV very high temperature reactors (VHTRs)-based systems for hydrogen production. Various burnable poison distributions and fuel compositions are considered. In particular, utilization of transuranium nuclides (TRUs) in VHTRs is explored as the core self-stabilization approach. Both direct cycle and indirect cycle energy conversion approaches are discussed. It is assumed that small-scale VHTRs may be considered for international deployment as grid-appropriate variable-scale self-contained systems addressing emerging demands for hydrogen. A Monte Carlo-deterministic analysis methodology has been implemented for coupled design studies of VHTRs with TRUs using the ORNL SCALE 5.1 code system. The developed modeling approach provides an exact-geometry 3D representation of the VHTR core details properly capturing VHTR physics. The discussed studies are being performed within the scope of the U.S. DOE Nuclear Energy Research Initiative project on utilization of higher actinides (TRUs and partitioned minor actinides) as a fuel component for extended-life VHTR configurations.

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Copyright © 2009 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Design development and optimization

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Figure 2

Small-scale VHTR configuration (HTTR basis)

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Figure 3

Longevity analysis of the VHTR design configurations as a function of fast fluence

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Figure 4

Fissile content requirements for various TRU-fueled VHTR configurations operating at 600 MW(th) relative to the corresponding LEU-fueled VHTR system

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Figure 5

Burnable poison locations in the HTTR fuel block (KENO3D plot)

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Figure 6

Reactivity swing in the LEU-fueled VHTR configurations during operation

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Figure 7

Passive reactivity swing control using heterogeneous burnable poison distributions in the LEU- and TRU-fueled VHTR configurations

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