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Title: Integration of High-Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactors into Industrial Process Applications

Abstract

This report is a summary of analyses performed by the NGNP project to determine whether it is technically and economically feasible to integrate high temperature gas cooled reactor (HTGR) technology into industrial processes. To avoid an overly optimistic environmental and economic baseline for comparing nuclear integrated and conventional processes, a conservative approach was used for the assumptions and calculations.

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
Sponsoring Org.:
DOE - NE
OSTI Identifier:
1032079
Report Number(s):
INL/EXT-09-16942
TRN: US1200448
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC07-05ID14517
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; 42 ENGINEERING; ECONOMICS; GAS COOLED REACTORS; HTGR TYPE REACTORS; Hydrogen Production System; Intermnediate Heat Exchanger; Next Generation Nuclear Plant Project; NGNP; Very High Temperature Reactor

Citation Formats

Lee Nelson. Integration of High-Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactors into Industrial Process Applications. United States: N. p., 2011. Web. doi:10.2172/1032079.
Lee Nelson. Integration of High-Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactors into Industrial Process Applications. United States. doi:10.2172/1032079.
Lee Nelson. 2011. "Integration of High-Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactors into Industrial Process Applications". United States. doi:10.2172/1032079. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1032079.
@article{osti_1032079,
title = {Integration of High-Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactors into Industrial Process Applications},
author = {Lee Nelson},
abstractNote = {This report is a summary of analyses performed by the NGNP project to determine whether it is technically and economically feasible to integrate high temperature gas cooled reactor (HTGR) technology into industrial processes. To avoid an overly optimistic environmental and economic baseline for comparing nuclear integrated and conventional processes, a conservative approach was used for the assumptions and calculations.},
doi = {10.2172/1032079},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2011,
month = 9
}

Technical Report:

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  • This report is a preliminary comparison of conventional and potential HTGR-integrated processesa in several common industrial areas: ? Producing electricity via a traditional power cycle ? Producing hydrogen ? Producing ammonia and ammonia-derived products, such as fertilizer ? Producing gasoline and diesel from natural gas or coal ? Producing substitute natural gas from coal, and ? Steam-assisted gravity drainage (extracting oil from tar sands).
  • An engineering and economic evaluation is made of coal conversion processes that can be coupled to a very high-temperature nuclear reactor heat source. The basic system developed by General Atomic/Stone and Webster (GA/S and W) is similar to the H-coal process developed by Hydrocarbon Research, Inc., but is modified to accommodate a nuclear heat source and to produce synthetic natural gas (SNG), synthesis gas, and hydrogen in addition to synthetic crude liquids. The synthetic crude liquid production is analyzed by using the GA/S and W process coupled to either a nuclear- or fossil-heat source. Four other processes are included formore » comparison: (1) the Lurgi process for production of SNG, (2) the Koppers-Totzek process for production of either hydrogen or synthesis gas, (3) the Hygas process for production of SNG, and (4) the Westinghouse thermal-chemical water splitting process for production of hydrogen. The production of methanol and iron ore reduction are evaluated as two potential applications of synthesis gas from either the GA/S and W or Koppers-Totzek processes. The results indicate that the product costs for each of the gasification and liquefaction processes did not differ significantly, with the exception that the unproven Hygas process was cheaper and the Westinghouse process considerably more expensive than the others.« less
  • This report summarizes the results of a temperature sensitivity study conducted to identify the optimum reactor operating temperatures for producing the heat and hydrogen required for industrial processes associated with the proposed new high temperature gas-cooled reactor. This study assumed that primary steam outputs of the reactor were delivered at 17 MPa and 540°C and the helium coolant was delivered at 7 MPa at 625–925°C. The secondary outputs of were electricity and hydrogen. For the power generation analysis, it was assumed that the power cycle efficiency was 66% of the maximum theoretical efficiency of the Carnot thermodynamic cycle. Hydrogen wasmore » generated via the hightemperature steam electrolysis or the steam methane reforming process. The study indicates that optimum or a range of reactor outlet temperatures could be identified to further refine the process evaluations that were developed for high temperature gas-cooled reactor-integrated production of synthetic transportation fuels, ammonia, and ammonia derivatives, oil from unconventional sources, and substitute natural gas from coal.« less
  • A critical review is presented of the technology and economics for coupling a very high-temperature gas-cooled reactor to a variety of process applications. It is concluded that nuclear steam reforming of light hydrocarbons for coal conversion could be a near-term alternative and that direct nuclear coal gasification could be a future consideration. Thermochemical water splitting appears to be more costly and its availability farther in the future than the coal-conversion systems. Nuclear steelmaking is competitive with the direct reduction of iron ore from conventional coal-conversion processes but not competitive with the reforming of natural gas at present gas prices. Nuclearmore » process heat for petroleum refining, even with the necessary backup systems, is competitive with fossil energy sources. The processing with nuclear heat of oil shale and tar sands is of marginal economic importance. An analysis of peaking power applications using nuclear heat was also made. It is concluded that steam reforming methane for energy storage and production of peaking power is not a viable economic alternative, but that energy storage with a high-temperature heat transfer salt (HTS) is competitive with conventional peaking systems. An examination of the materials required in process heat exchangers is made.« less
  • An economic comparison is presented of three conceptual process heat reactor plants. Results are presented and discussed.