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Abstract

The gas-cooled fast reactor (GFR) is one of the six reactor concepts selected in the frame of the Generation IV initiative. The most significant GFR option is the use of a helium high temperature primary coolant. The helium option is very attractive (chemical inertness, neutron transparency, etc.) but it leads to very specific thermal-hydraulic issues.
As far as the reactor core design is concerned, a ceramic fuel concept with a good thermal conductivity has been chosen. The main requirement is to obtain an average exit core temperature of 850 C (energy conversion efficiency) with a maximum fuel temperature of about 1200 C and with a low core pressure drop (in order to ease the decay heat removal). The main core characteristics have been determined for two reactor powers: a medium one (600 MWth) and a large one (2400 MWth). For various reasons, this latter became the CEA reference choice. A consistent set of core parameters has been determined taking into account the different constraints including the thermal-hydraulics. The reference arrangement proposed is based on plate fuel elements.
A significant issue for the GFR is the decay heat removal. An innovative approach has been chosen in case of loss of coolant accidents (LOCAs). A "guard containment" enclosing the primary system is used to maintain a medium gas pressure (10 bar) in order to remove the decay heat by low power forced convection systems in the short term and natural convection systems in the long term. This guard containment is not pressurized during normal operations and can be a metallic structure.
As far as the energy conversion system is concerned, an indirect-combined cycle has been chosen. The significant advantages of this choice are: a moderate core inlet temperature (400 C instead of 480 C for the direct cycle) and an attractive compactness of the primary system (facilitating the guard containment design).

Additional information

Authors: GARNIER J C, Département de Recherches sur la Fusion Contrôlée, Association Euratom-CEA sur la Fusion, CEA Cadarache, Saint-Paul-lez-Durance (FR);MALO J Y, Département de Recherches sur la Fusion Contrôlée, Association Euratom-CEA sur la Fusion, CEA Cadarache, Saint-Paul-lez-Durance (FR);TOSELLO A, Département de Recherches sur la Fusion Contrôlée, Association Euratom-CEA sur la Fusion, CEA Cadarache, Saint-Paul-lez-Durance (FR);DUMAZ P, Département de Recherches sur la Fusion Contrôlée, Association Euratom-CEA sur la Fusion, CEA Cadarache, Saint-Paul-lez-Durance (FR);ALLÈGRE P, Département de Recherches sur la Fusion Contrôlée, Association Euratom-CEA sur la Fusion, CEA Cadarache, Saint-Paul-lez-Durance (FR);BASSI C, Département de Recherches sur la Fusion Contrôlée, Association Euratom-CEA sur la Fusion, CEA Cadarache, Saint-Paul-lez-Durance (FR);CADIOU T, Département de Recherches sur la Fusion Contrôlée, Association Euratom-CEA sur la Fusion, CEA Cadarache, Saint-Paul-lez-Durance (FR);CONTI A, Département de Recherches sur la Fusion Contrôlée, Association Euratom-CEA sur la Fusion, CEA Cadarache, Saint-Paul-lez-Durance (FR)
Bibliographic Reference: An article published in: Nuclear Engineering and Design, Volume 237, Issues 15-17 (2007), 10 pp.
Availability: This article can be accessed online by subscribers, and can be ordered online by non-subscribers, at: http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1016/j.nucengdes.2007.03.018
Record Number: 200819859 / Last updated on: 2008-06-24
Category: PUBLICATION
Original language: en
Available languages: en
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