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High performance light water reactor


Potential applications of the results: One of the by-products of the HPLWR project is the identification and selection of special materials that can sustain high temperatures in radiation environment with minimal corrosion. Identification of such in-vessel materials would benefit the entire nuclear industry and the identification of such ex-vessel materials would benefit the nuclear and conventional power plant market. The quest to find better materials that can perform at harsh environment is continuing in many fields and the results of this project would make a contribution towards this goal. End users of the results: Utilities operating nuclear and fossil power plants, power plant vendors, vendors of energy machinery and equipment, engineering and consulting companies, regulators, research institutes, universities. Main innovative features/benefits (technical/commercial success factors): There is a continuous need for improved material performance at high temperatures. The identification and verification of improved materials for high temperature applications is always innovative. In the case of the HPLWR the in-vessel material is expected to withstand continuous operation at ~600 ºC, i.e. have adequate strength, low creep rate, low radiation creep, minimal stress-corrosion cracking, low general corrosion and high durability for extended plant life. Materials that would exhibit these properties can be regarded as highly innovative. Similarly, advanced materials will be sought for ex-vessel applications. The identification and proof by laboratory testing of such cost-competitive materials, will unquestionably be embraced by the market. Analysis of the market or application sector: There is a definite need in the market for improved materials for high temperature applications. This need will persist as fossil and nuclear power plants aim at higher operating temperature in order to increase the efficiency and economics of power plants. In order that new materials be accepted in the production of new products, its performance must be tested, verified and approved by licensing authorities. This is often a lengthy process in particular when involving in-pile testing. However, after proving that the equipment containing the new materials can perform as predicted, it will be preferred by the end users and it would displace from the market the products that do not incorporate such advanced materials. Potential barriers: Introduction of new materials into the (nuclear) market usually is a prolonged process that follows the following stages: identification, selection, testing, verification and licensing. After the material itself has been validated and assuming that its cost is competitive, it will have to be used in the manufacturing of specific pieces of equipment that again will have to be validated and licensed. The process is simpler and shorter when used in non-nuclear applications.
Potential applications of the results: Since the HPLWR nuclear power plant was determined by the HPLWR project to be feasible in principle, it is expected to lead in the future to a new and more efficient type of nuclear power plants with efficiency of 41-44% as compared to an efficiency of 33% for current LWRs. Potential applications include the generation of electricity as well as other products, e.g. steam for district heating and desalination. The results of this project will also contribute to improved technology and performance of supercritical fossil power plants through the better understanding of materials behaviour at high temperatures. End users of the results: The first level of end-user of the results is the public that will enjoy the generated electricity from the power plant. The second level of end-user is the utility that will purchase the plant and will participate in its construction and operation. The third level is the vendor that will design, procure, manufacture and construct the power plant. Other end-users are the regulatory authorities, research institutes and universities that will participate in the development of this advanced power plant and will acquire new knowledge in the process. Main innovative features/benefits (technical/commercial success factors): The HPLWR plant has numerous innovative features compared to other modern nuclear power plants. In particular, it is more efficient, simplified, compact and may easily be designed as a fast reactor. It will operate at much higher temperatures than current or advanced LWRs and thus could be used for multi-purpose applications such as electricity and process heat generation. Its products will be competitive with currently available similar products. Although the HPLWR was found to be feasible in principle, more detailed studies of the HPLWR will have to demonstrate competitive price, the impact on the environment, a better utilization of energy resources and an acceptable level of safety and reliability. As part of the innovative concept, new methods, tools and materials will be developed and contribute to other fields. Analysis of the market or application sector: The demand for energy and electricity in Europe and in other parts of the world will continue. Historically the demand for electricity has been proportional to the GNP and therefore is expected to increase in particular in developing nations (e.g. India, China, Africa). The development of the HPLWR would also entail licensing and regulatory aspects and the plant will have to be licensed by the local licensing authority. There is little doubt that many new nuclear power plants will have to be built in the future in order to meet worldwide demand for energy. Since the HPLWR is more efficient than other types of nuclear reactors, in particular in terms of the utilization of uranium resources and the generation of lesser amounts of radioactive waste per unit energy generated, it could appeal to new customers. Similar conclusions were reached by the US DOE Generation IV committee that evaluated several new NPP concepts. Thus, the European vendors that would be involved in the design and development of the HPLWR should be able to introduce this favourable new type of power plant into the world market. Potential barriers: The above mentioned considerations assume that the feasibility of the HPLWR power plant has been proven, i.e. that the HPLWR has been found to be a better nuclear power plant than other advanced nuclear reactors. However, although at the conclusion of this project it has been concluded that the HPLWR concept is feasible in principle, more detailed studies that include experiments and analyses in key technological areas should be carried out to confirm this conclusion. Subsequent effort will have to be invested in the detailed design of this power plant, including prototyping and licensing. Only after the successful conclusion of the additional developmental effort would the final product, i.e. HPLWR nuclear power plant, be able to reach the market place.