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Title: A facility for testing 10- to 100-kWe space power reactors

Abstract

This paper describes an existing facility that could be used in a cost-effective manner to test space power reactors in the 10 to 100-kWe range before launch. The facility has been designed to conduct full power tests of 100-kWe SP-100 reactor systems and already has the structural feature that would be required for lower power testing. The paper describes a reasonable scenario starting with the acceptance at the test site of the unfueled reactor assembly and the separately shipped nuclear fuel. After fueling the reactor and installing it in the facility, cold critical tests are performed, and the reactor is then shipped to the launch site. The availability of this facility represents a cost-effective means of performing the required prelaunch test program.

Authors:
;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Westinghouse Hanford Co., Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE, Washington, DC (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
10177030
Report Number(s):
WHC-SA-1536; CONF-930103-9
Journal ID: ISSN 0094-243X; ON: DE92040420
DOE Contract Number:
AC06-87RL10930
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Journal Volume: 271; Conference: 10. symposium on space nuclear power and propulsion, Albuquerque, NM (United States),10-14 Jan 1993; Other Information: PBD: Jun 1992
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
22 GENERAL STUDIES OF NUCLEAR REACTORS; 42 ENGINEERING; SPACE POWER REACTORS; TESTING; TEST FACILITIES; HANFORD RESERVATION; SPECIFICATIONS; DESIGN; NESDPS Office of Nuclear Energy Space and Defense Power Systems; 220600; 420200; RESEARCH, TEST, TRAINING, PRODUCTION, IRRADIATION, MATERIALS TESTING REACTORS; FACILITIES, EQUIPMENT, AND TECHNIQUES

Citation Formats

Carlson, W F, and Bitten, E J. A facility for testing 10- to 100-kWe space power reactors. United States: N. p., 1992. Web. doi:10.1063/1.43163.
Carlson, W F, & Bitten, E J. A facility for testing 10- to 100-kWe space power reactors. United States. doi:10.1063/1.43163.
Carlson, W F, and Bitten, E J. Mon . "A facility for testing 10- to 100-kWe space power reactors". United States. doi:10.1063/1.43163. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/10177030.
@article{osti_10177030,
title = {A facility for testing 10- to 100-kWe space power reactors},
author = {Carlson, W F and Bitten, E J},
abstractNote = {This paper describes an existing facility that could be used in a cost-effective manner to test space power reactors in the 10 to 100-kWe range before launch. The facility has been designed to conduct full power tests of 100-kWe SP-100 reactor systems and already has the structural feature that would be required for lower power testing. The paper describes a reasonable scenario starting with the acceptance at the test site of the unfueled reactor assembly and the separately shipped nuclear fuel. After fueling the reactor and installing it in the facility, cold critical tests are performed, and the reactor is then shipped to the launch site. The availability of this facility represents a cost-effective means of performing the required prelaunch test program.},
doi = {10.1063/1.43163},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = 271,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon Jun 01 00:00:00 EDT 1992},
month = {Mon Jun 01 00:00:00 EDT 1992}
}

Conference:
Other availability
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  • This paper describes an existing facility that could be used in a cost-effective manner to test space power reactors in the 10 to 100-kWe range before launch. The facility has been designed to conduct full power tests of 100-kWe SP-100 reactor systems and already has the structural features that would be required for lower power testing. The paper describes a reasonable scenario starting with the acceptance at the test site of the unfueled reactor assembly and the separately shipped nuclear fuel. After fueling the reactor and installing it in the facility, cold critical tests are performed, and the reactor ismore » then shipped to the launch site. The availability of this facility represents a cost-effective means of performing the required prelaunch test program.« less
  • A 100-kWe space nuclear power technology program which could provide an electric power source for nuclear electric propulsion is analyzed. The power plant includes a reactor, radiation shield protecting payload, a converter producing electricity from thermal energy of the reactor, and radiator discharging waste heat. The reactor consists of a central core section surrounded by a neutron reflector and control region. The core consists of UO2 fuel and layers of molybdenum sheets to transfer the thermal energy to heat pipes. The reflector is made of BeO and divided into segments. The plant has a weight of 1775 kg, a lengthmore » of around 7 m, a lifetime of 7 years with a reliability of 0.95, and meets Shuttle volume constraints. Emphasis is placed on key results of the component experimental program including core heat pipe, core fastener, heat transfer, critical assembly, and thermoelectric module studies.« less
  • The conceptual design of a 100-kWe space reactor electric system to satisfy the design goals of the Tri-Agency SP-100 Program has been completed. The system was selected from an initial field of over 500 potential choices covering a wide range of reactor, power converter, shield, heat transport, and radiator subsystems. The selected system -- a lithium-cooled, UN-fueled, refractory-clad reactor coupled to a redundant pair of 110-kWe (gross) Brayton turboelectric power converters -shows strong promise of not only meeting the SP-100 Program design goals but also of providing for substantial growth in power levels for potential future needs.
  • The Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory is studying various reactor power plants for space applications in the range of 10 to 100 kWe to meet space missions in the late 1980's and 1990's. The study is concentrating on a high-temperature, compact, fast reactor that could be coupled with various radiation shielding systems and thermoelectric, thermionic, or dynamic electrical power conversion systems, depending on the mission. Though the study is continuing, this report provides a description of what a typical power plant might contain in the time period and at the power levels of interest.
  • An integration study was performed coupling an SP-100 reactor with either a Brayton or Stirling power conversion subsystem. A power level of 100 kWe was selected for the study. The power system was to be compatible with both the lunar and Mars surface environment and require no site preparation. In addition, the reactor was to have integral shielding and be completely self-contained, including its own auxiliary power for start-up. Initial reliability studies were performed to determine power conversion redundancy and engine module size. Previous studies were used to select the power conversion optimum operating conditions (ratio of hot-side temperature tomore » cold-side temperature). Results of the study indicated that either the Brayton or Stirling power conversion subsystems could be integrated with the SP-100 reactor for either a lunar or Mars surface power application. For the lunar environment, the reactor and primary coolant loop would be contained in a guard vessel to protect from a loss of primary loop containment. For the Mars environment, all refractory components including the reactor, primary coolant, and power conversion components would be contained in a vacuum vessel for protection against the CO[sub 2] environment. The vacuum would be maintained by an active ion pumping system. These active ion vacuum systems have no moving parts and have a long history of reliable operation.« less