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Title: AHTR Mechanical, Structural, and Neutronic Preconceptual Design

Abstract

This report provides an overview of the mechanical, structural, and neutronic aspects of the Advanced High Temperature Reactor (AHTR) design concept. The AHTR is a design concept for a large output Fluoride salt cooled High-temperature Reactor (FHR) that is being developed to enable evaluation of the technology hurdles remaining to be overcome prior to FHRs becoming an option for commercial reactor deployment. This report documents the incremental AHTR design maturation performed over the past year and is focused on advancing the design concept to a level of a functional, self-consistent system. The reactor concept development remains at a preconceptual level of maturity. While the overall appearance of an AHTR design is anticipated to be similar to the current concept, optimized dimensions will differ from those presented here. The AHTR employs plate type coated particle fuel assemblies with rapid, off-line refueling. Neutronic analysis of the core has confirmed the viability of a 6-month two-batch cycle with 9 wt. % enriched uranium fuel. Refueling is intended to be performed automatically under visual guidance using dedicated robotic manipulators. The report includes a preconceptual design of the manipulators, the fuel transfer system, and the used fuel storage system. The present design intent is formore » used fuel to be stored inside of containment for at least six months and then transferred to local dry wells for intermediate term, on-site storage. The mechanical and structural concept development effort has included an emphasis on transportation and constructability to minimize construction costs and schedule. The design intent is that all components be factory fabricated into rail transportable modules that are assembled into subsystems at an on-site workshop prior to being lifted into position using a heavy-lift crane in an open-top style construction. While detailed accident identification and response sequence analysis has yet to be performed, the design concept incorporates fully passive responses to all identified design basis or non-very-low frequency beyond design basis accidents as well as multiple levels of radioactive material containment. Key building design elements include (1) below grade siting to minimize vulnerability to aircraft impact, (2) multiple natural circulation decay heat rejection chimneys, (3) seismic base isolation, and (4) decay heat powered back-up electricity generation.« less

Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE NE Office of Nuclear Reactor Technologies (NE-7)
OSTI Identifier:
1054145
Report Number(s):
ORNL/TM-2012/320
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC05-00OR22725
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
22 GENERAL STUDIES OF NUCLEAR REACTORS; 01 COAL, LIGNITE, AND PEAT

Citation Formats

Varma, V.K., Holcomb, D.E., Peretz, F.J., Bradley, E.C., Ilas, D., Qualls, A.L., and Zaharia, N.M. AHTR Mechanical, Structural, and Neutronic Preconceptual Design. United States: N. p., 2012. Web. doi:10.2172/1054145.
Varma, V.K., Holcomb, D.E., Peretz, F.J., Bradley, E.C., Ilas, D., Qualls, A.L., & Zaharia, N.M. AHTR Mechanical, Structural, and Neutronic Preconceptual Design. United States. doi:10.2172/1054145.
Varma, V.K., Holcomb, D.E., Peretz, F.J., Bradley, E.C., Ilas, D., Qualls, A.L., and Zaharia, N.M. 2012. "AHTR Mechanical, Structural, and Neutronic Preconceptual Design". United States. doi:10.2172/1054145. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1054145.
@article{osti_1054145,
title = {AHTR Mechanical, Structural, and Neutronic Preconceptual Design},
author = {Varma, V.K. and Holcomb, D.E. and Peretz, F.J. and Bradley, E.C. and Ilas, D. and Qualls, A.L. and Zaharia, N.M.},
abstractNote = {This report provides an overview of the mechanical, structural, and neutronic aspects of the Advanced High Temperature Reactor (AHTR) design concept. The AHTR is a design concept for a large output Fluoride salt cooled High-temperature Reactor (FHR) that is being developed to enable evaluation of the technology hurdles remaining to be overcome prior to FHRs becoming an option for commercial reactor deployment. This report documents the incremental AHTR design maturation performed over the past year and is focused on advancing the design concept to a level of a functional, self-consistent system. The reactor concept development remains at a preconceptual level of maturity. While the overall appearance of an AHTR design is anticipated to be similar to the current concept, optimized dimensions will differ from those presented here. The AHTR employs plate type coated particle fuel assemblies with rapid, off-line refueling. Neutronic analysis of the core has confirmed the viability of a 6-month two-batch cycle with 9 wt. % enriched uranium fuel. Refueling is intended to be performed automatically under visual guidance using dedicated robotic manipulators. The report includes a preconceptual design of the manipulators, the fuel transfer system, and the used fuel storage system. The present design intent is for used fuel to be stored inside of containment for at least six months and then transferred to local dry wells for intermediate term, on-site storage. The mechanical and structural concept development effort has included an emphasis on transportation and constructability to minimize construction costs and schedule. The design intent is that all components be factory fabricated into rail transportable modules that are assembled into subsystems at an on-site workshop prior to being lifted into position using a heavy-lift crane in an open-top style construction. While detailed accident identification and response sequence analysis has yet to be performed, the design concept incorporates fully passive responses to all identified design basis or non-very-low frequency beyond design basis accidents as well as multiple levels of radioactive material containment. Key building design elements include (1) below grade siting to minimize vulnerability to aircraft impact, (2) multiple natural circulation decay heat rejection chimneys, (3) seismic base isolation, and (4) decay heat powered back-up electricity generation.},
doi = {10.2172/1054145},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2012,
month = 9
}

Technical Report:

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  • This report provides an overview of the mechanical, structural, and neutronic aspects of the Advanced High Temperature Reactor (AHTR) design concept. The AHTR is a design concept for a large output Fluoride salt cooled High-temperature Reactor (FHR) that is being developed to enable evaluation of the technology hurdles remaining to be overcome prior to FHRs becoming a commercial reactor class. This report documents the incremental AHTR design maturation performed over the past year and is focused on advancing the design concept to a level of a functional, self-consistent system. The AHTR employs plate type coated particle fuel assemblies with rapid,more » off-line refueling. Neutronic analysis of the core has confirmed the viability of a 6-month 2-batch cycle with 9 weight-percent enriched uranium fuel. Refueling is intended to be performed automatically under visual guidance using dedicated robotic manipulators. The present design intent is for used fuel to be stored inside of containment for at least 6 months and then transferred to local dry wells for intermediate term, on-site storage. The mechanical and structural concept development effort has included an emphasis on transportation and constructability to minimize construction costs and schedule. The design intent is that all components be factory fabricated into rail transportable modules that are assembled into subsystems at an on-site workshop prior to being lifted into position using a heavy-lift crane in an open-top style construction. While detailed accident identification and response sequence analysis has yet to be performed, the design concept incorporates multiple levels of radioactive material containment including fully passive responses to all identified design basis or non-very-low frequency beyond design basis accidents. Key building design elements include: 1) below grade siting to minimize vulnerability to aircraft impact, 2) multiple natural circulation decay heat rejection chimneys, 3) seismic base isolation, and 4) decay heat powered back-up electricity generation. The report provides a preconceptual design of the manipulators, the fuel transfer system, and the salt transfer loops. The mechanical handling of the fuel and how it is accomplished without instrumentation inside the salt is described within the report. All drives for the manipulators reside outside the reactor top flange. The design has also taken into account the transportability of major components and how they will be assembled on site« less
  • A new reactor plant concept is presented that combines the benefits of ceramic-coated, high-temperature particle fuel with those of clean, high-temperature, low-pressure molten salt coolant. The Advanced High-Temperature Reactor (AHTR) concept is a collaboration of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, and the University of California at Berkeley. The purpose of the concept is to provide an advanced design capable of satisfying the top-level functional requirements of the U.S. Department of Energy Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP), while also providing a technology base that is sufficiently robust to allow future development paths to higher temperatures and larger outputs withmore » highly competitive economics. This report summarizes the status of the AHTR preconceptual design. It captures the results from an intense effort over a period of 3 months to (1) screen and examine potential feasibility concerns with the concept; (2) refine the conceptual design of major systems; and (3) identify research, development, and technology requirements to fully mature the AHTR design. Several analyses were performed and are presented to quantify the AHTR performance expectations and to assist in the selection of several design parameters. The AHTR, like other NGNP reactor concepts, uses coated particle fuel in a graphite matrix. But unlike the other NGNP concepts, the AHTR uses molten salt rather than helium as the primary system coolant. The considerable previous experience with molten salts in nuclear environments is discussed, and the status of high-temperature materials is reviewed. The large thermal inertia of the system, the excellent heat transfer and fission product retention characteristics of molten salt, and the low-pressure operation of the primary system provide significant safety attributes for the AHTR. Compared with helium coolant, a molten salt cooled reactor will have significantly lower fuel temperatures (150-200-C lower) for the equivalent temperature of heat delivered to either the power conversion system or a hydrogen production plant. Using a comparative cost analysis, the construction costs per unit output are projected to be 50-55% of the costs for modular gas-cooled or sodium-cooled reactor systems. This is primarily a consequence of substantially larger power output and higher conversion efficiency for the AHTR. The AHTR has a number of unique technical challenges in meeting the NGNP requirements; however, it appears to offer advantages over high-temperature helium-cooled reactors and provides an alternative development path to achieve the NGNP requirements. Primary challenges include optimizing the core design for improved response to transients, designing an internal blanket to thermally protect the reactor vessel, and engineering solutions to high-temperature refueling and maintenance.« less
  • A graphite blanket cooled by gravitational flow of lithium oxide is introduced. Due to the low pressure of the blanket, the first wall is no longer required as the vacuum boundary. The maintenance and repairment of such a first wall will be much simplified. Redundancy of the first wall is a built in function. Many problems remain to be solved; among which the most critical ones are blanket vacuum problem, ceramic technology, vacuum heat transfer. Much further work is required to establish the feasibility of this concept.
  • US EPA regulations limit the release of Krypton-85 to the environment from commercial facilities after January 1, 1983. In order to comply with these regulations, Krypton-85, which would be released during reprocessing of commercial nuclear fuel, must be collected and stored. Technology currently exists for separation of krypton from other inert gases, and for its storage as a compressed gas in steel cylinders. The requirements, which would be imposed for 100-year storage of Krypton-85, have led to development of processes for encapsulation of krypton within a stable solid matrix. The objective of this effort was to provide preconceptual engineering designs,more » technical evaluations, and life cycle costing data for comparison of two alternate candidate processes for encapsulation of Krypton-85. This report has been prepared by The Ralph M. Parsons Company for the US Department of Energy.« less
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