There is an urgent need to improve the economics and efficiency of Light Water Reactors (LWR), similarly to improvements made in fossil power plants. The concept in this project involves an LWR operating in thermodynamically supercritical regime. In a once-through concept, the water enters as water and exits as high-pressure steam without change of phase. Consequently, the reactor can be substantially simplified. This project will study in details the merit of a High Performance LWR (efficiency of 44%) by a highly qualified team of Research Institutes and industrial partners. The results will also benefit current LWR technology. The evaluation will concentrate on the following areas: state of the art status, basic design requirements, plant architecture, core design, neutronic/thermal-hydraulics (T/H) analyse, in-pile neutronics test, materials and corrosion, T/H tests, safety, economics, and option for a fast reactor
The principal results of this project include a clear state of the art of the HPLWR technology, determination of its technical merit and preliminary economic feasibility, identification of the main difficulties that may be encountered in the future development of this concept, and recommendations for future R&D programs since the concept was found to be feasible. The state of the art of nuclear reactors designed to operate at thermodynamically supercritical conditions have been reviewed and evaluated. The state of the art was discussed during the SCR-2000 symposium at the University of Tokyo on November 6-9, 2000 and the symposium Proceedings presents a comprehensive summary of the technology.
The HPLWR project has proceeded on two parallel paths:
1) independent evaluation of the University of Tokyo's supercritical water-cooled reactor design, and;
2) designing an improved supercritical water-cooled reactor that could meet the European Utility Requirements (EUR) and the European need. Under item (1) computational tools in the areas of reactor physics and thermal-hydraulics and heat transfer have been developed by extending the capabilities of exiting tools to the thermodynamically supercritical regime. The results of these computational tools have been compared with the evaluation of the University of Tokyo. In addition, benchmark neutronics problems have been defined for conditions of interest to the HPLWR operating range and independent evaluations of the benchmark problems have been pursued by four of the partners. In the area of thermal-hydraulics and reactor safety, a substantial effort has been made to apply the RELAP5 and CATHARE to thermodynamically supercritical regime. Computer codes developed by the University of Tokyo have also been made available to the HPLWR project for thermal-hydraulics, neutronics and safety evaluations. The results of these analyses have pointed out several areas for improvement of the reactor design proposed by the University of Tokyo.
Additional effort has been invested in parallel to determine the most desirable plant architecture, the scale of the power plant, plant safety systems, the core hardware details, additional plant features required to make the HPLWR abide by the EUR, preliminary economics evaluation, and the identification and selection of appropriate in-vessel and ex-vessel materials that would sustain the high temperatures. Substantial progress has been achieved in each of these efforts through an exemplary cooperative effort between the eight HPLWR partners that include industrial partners, research institutes and the University of Tokyo.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
13108 St.paul Les Durance