skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: A Gas-Cooled-Reactor Closed-Brayton-Cycle Demonstration with Nuclear Heating

Abstract

A gas-cooled reactor may be coupled directly to turbomachinery to form a closed-Brayton-cycle (CBC) system in which the CBC working fluid serves as the reactor coolant. Such a system has the potential to be a very simple and robust space-reactor power system. Gas-cooled reactors have been built and operated in the past, but very few have been coupled directly to the turbomachinery in this fashion. In this paper we describe the option for testing such a system with a small reactor and turbomachinery at Sandia National Laboratories. Sandia currently operates the Annular Core Research Reactor (ACRR) at steady-state powers up to 4 MW and has an adjacent facility with heavy shielding in which another reactor recently operated. Sandia also has a closed-Brayton-Cycle test bed with a converted commercial turbomachinery unit that is rated for up to 30 kWe of power. It is proposed to construct a small experimental gas-cooled reactor core and attach this via ducting to the CBC turbomachinery for cooling and electricity production. Calculations suggest that such a unit could produce about 20 kWe, which would be a good power level for initial surface power units on the Moon or Mars. The intent of this experiment is tomore » demonstrate the stable start-up and operation of such a system. Of particular interest is the effect of a negative temperature power coefficient as the initially cold Brayton gas passes through the core during startup or power changes. Sandia's dynamic model for such a system would be compared with the performance data. This paper describes the neutronics, heat transfer, and cycle dynamics of this proposed system. Safety and radiation issues are presented. The views expressed in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect agreement by the government.« less

Authors:
; ; ;  [1]; ;  [1];  [2];  [1];  [2]
  1. Advanced Nuclear Concepts Department, Sandia National Laboratories, P.O Box 5800, Albuquerque, NM 87185 (United States)
  2. (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
20630574
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: AIP Conference Proceedings; Journal Volume: 746; Journal Issue: 1; Conference: STAIF 2005: Conference on thermophysics in microgravity; Conference on commercial/civil next generation space transportation; 22. symposium on space nuclear power and propulsion; Conference on human/robotic technology and the national vision for space exploration; 3. symposium on space colonization; 2. symposium on new frontiers and future concepts, Albuquerque, NM (United States), 13-17 Feb 2005; Other Information: DOI: 10.1063/1.1867160; (c) 2005 American Institute of Physics; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; ACPR REACTOR; BRAYTON CYCLE; EGCR REACTOR; HEAT TRANSFER; PERFORMANCE TESTING; POWER COEFFICIENT; REACTOR CORES; REACTOR SAFETY; REACTOR START-UP; SHIELDING; SPACE POWER REACTORS; TURBOMACHINERY; WORKING FLUIDS; NESDPS Office of Nuclear Energy Space and Defense Power Systems

Citation Formats

Lipinski, Ronald J., Wright, Steven A., Dorsey, Daniel J., Williamson, Joshua, Peters, Curtis D., Brown, Nicholas, Department of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87108, Jablonski, Jennifer, and Department of Education, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87108. A Gas-Cooled-Reactor Closed-Brayton-Cycle Demonstration with Nuclear Heating. United States: N. p., 2005. Web. doi:10.1063/1.1867160.
Lipinski, Ronald J., Wright, Steven A., Dorsey, Daniel J., Williamson, Joshua, Peters, Curtis D., Brown, Nicholas, Department of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87108, Jablonski, Jennifer, & Department of Education, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87108. A Gas-Cooled-Reactor Closed-Brayton-Cycle Demonstration with Nuclear Heating. United States. doi:10.1063/1.1867160.
Lipinski, Ronald J., Wright, Steven A., Dorsey, Daniel J., Williamson, Joshua, Peters, Curtis D., Brown, Nicholas, Department of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87108, Jablonski, Jennifer, and Department of Education, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87108. 2005. "A Gas-Cooled-Reactor Closed-Brayton-Cycle Demonstration with Nuclear Heating". United States. doi:10.1063/1.1867160.
@article{osti_20630574,
title = {A Gas-Cooled-Reactor Closed-Brayton-Cycle Demonstration with Nuclear Heating},
author = {Lipinski, Ronald J. and Wright, Steven A. and Dorsey, Daniel J. and Williamson, Joshua and Peters, Curtis D. and Brown, Nicholas and Department of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87108 and Jablonski, Jennifer and Department of Education, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87108},
abstractNote = {A gas-cooled reactor may be coupled directly to turbomachinery to form a closed-Brayton-cycle (CBC) system in which the CBC working fluid serves as the reactor coolant. Such a system has the potential to be a very simple and robust space-reactor power system. Gas-cooled reactors have been built and operated in the past, but very few have been coupled directly to the turbomachinery in this fashion. In this paper we describe the option for testing such a system with a small reactor and turbomachinery at Sandia National Laboratories. Sandia currently operates the Annular Core Research Reactor (ACRR) at steady-state powers up to 4 MW and has an adjacent facility with heavy shielding in which another reactor recently operated. Sandia also has a closed-Brayton-Cycle test bed with a converted commercial turbomachinery unit that is rated for up to 30 kWe of power. It is proposed to construct a small experimental gas-cooled reactor core and attach this via ducting to the CBC turbomachinery for cooling and electricity production. Calculations suggest that such a unit could produce about 20 kWe, which would be a good power level for initial surface power units on the Moon or Mars. The intent of this experiment is to demonstrate the stable start-up and operation of such a system. Of particular interest is the effect of a negative temperature power coefficient as the initially cold Brayton gas passes through the core during startup or power changes. Sandia's dynamic model for such a system would be compared with the performance data. This paper describes the neutronics, heat transfer, and cycle dynamics of this proposed system. Safety and radiation issues are presented. The views expressed in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect agreement by the government.},
doi = {10.1063/1.1867160},
journal = {AIP Conference Proceedings},
number = 1,
volume = 746,
place = {United States},
year = 2005,
month = 2
}
  • A gas-cooled reactor may be coupled directly to turbomachinery to form a closed-Brayton-cycle (CBC) system in which the CBC working fluid serves as the reactor coolant. Such a system has the potential to be a very simple and robust space-reactor power system. Gas-cooled reactors have been built and operated in the past, but very few have been coupled directly to the turbomachinery in this fashion. In this paper we describe the option for testing such a system with a small reactor and turbomachinery at Sandia National Laboratories. Sandia currently operates the Annular Core Research Reactor (ACRR) at steady-state powers upmore » to 4 MW and has an adjacent facility with heavy shielding in which another reactor recently operated. Sandia also has a closed-Brayton-Cycle test bed with a converted commercial turbomachinery unit that is rated for up to 30 kWe of power. It is proposed to construct a small experimental gas-cooled reactor core and attach this via ducting to the CBC turbomachinery for cooling and electricity production. Calculations suggest that such a unit could produce about 20 kWe, which would be a good power level for initial surface power units on the Moon or Mars. The intent of this experiment is to demonstrate the stable start-up and operation of such a system. Of particular interest is the effect of a negative temperature power coefficient as the initially cold Brayton gas passes through the core during startup or power changes. Sandia's dynamic model for such a system would be compared with the performance data. This paper describes the neutronics, heat transfer, and cycle dynamics of this proposed system. Safety and radiation issues are presented. The views expressed in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect agreement by the government.« less
  • A gas-cooled reactor may be coupled directly to turbomachinery to form a closed-Brayton-cycle (CBC) system in which the CBC working fluid serves as the reactor coolant. Such a system has the potential to be a very simple and robust space-reactor power system. Gas-cooled reactors have been built and operated in the past, but very few have been coupled directly to the turbomachinery in this fashion. In this paper we describe the option for testing such a system with a small reactor and turbomachinery at Sandia National Laboratories. Sandia currently operates the Annular Core Research Reactor (ACRR) at steady-state powers upmore » to 4 MW and has an adjacent facility with heavy shielding in which another reactor recently operated. Sandia also has a closed-Brayton-Cycle test bed with a converted commercial turbomachinery unit that is rated for up to 30 kWe of power. It is proposed to construct a small experimental gas-cooled reactor core and attach this via ducting to the CBC turbomachinery for cooling and electricity production. Calculations suggest that such a unit could produce about 20 kWe, which would be a good power level for initial surface power units on the Moon or Mars. The intent of this experiment is to demonstrate the stable start-up and operation of such a system. Of particular interest is the effect of a negative temperature power coefficient as the initially cold Brayton gas passes through the core during startup or power changes. Sandia's dynamic model for such a system would be compared with the performance data. This paper describes the neutronics, heat transfer, and cycle dynamics of this proposed system. Safety and radiation issues are presented. The views expressed in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect agreement by the government.« less
  • This paper describes results of a dynamic system model for a pair of closed Brayton-cycle (CBC) loops running in parallel that are connected to a nuclear gas reactor. The model assumes direct coupling between the reactor and the Brayton-cycle loops. The RELAP5-3D (version 2.4.1) computer program was used to perform the analysis. Few reactors have ever been coupled to closed Brayton-cycle systems. As such their behavior under dynamically varying loads, startup and shut down conditions, and requirements for safe and autonomous operation are largely unknown. The model described in this paper represents the reactor, turbine, compressor, recuperator, heat rejection systemmore » and alternator. The initial results of the model indicate stable operation of the reactor-driven Brayton-cycle system. However, for analysts with mostly pressurized water reactor experience, the Brayton cycle loops coupled to a gas-cooled reactor also indicate some counter-intuitive behavior for the complete coupled system. This model has provided crucial information in evaluating the reactor design and would have been further developed for use in developing procedures for safe start up, shut down, safe-standby, and other autonomous operating modes had the plant development cycle been completed.« less
  • The Nuclear Energy Division (ENU) of the Institute for Advanced Studies (IEAv) has started a preliminary design study for a Closed Brayton Cycle Loop (CBCL) aimed at a space reactor application. The main objectives of the study are: 1) to establish a starting concept for the CBCL components specifications, and 2) to build a demonstrative simulator of CBCL. This preliminary design study is developing the CBCL around the NOELLE 60290 turbo machine. The actual nuclear reactor study is being conducted independently. Because of that, a conventional heat source is being used for the CBCL, in this preliminary design phase. Thismore » paper describes the steady state simulator of the CBCL operating with NOELLE 60290 turbo machine. In principle, several gases are being considered as working fluid, as for instance: air, helium, nitrogen, CO{sub 2} and gas mixtures such as helium and xenon. However, for this first application pure helium will be used as working fluid. Simplified models of heat and mass transfer were developed to simulate thermal components. Future efforts will focus on implementing a graphical interface to display the thermal process variables in steady state and to keep track of the modifications being implemented at the NOELLE 60290 turbo machine in order to build the CBCL.« less
  • The Nuclear Energy Division (ENU) of the Institute for Advanced Studies (IEAv) has started a preliminary design study for a Closed Brayton Cycle Loop (CBCL) aimed at a space reactor application. The main objectives of the study are: 1) to establish a starting concept for the CBCL components specifications, and 2) to build a demonstrative simulator of CBCL. This preliminary design study is been developed around the NOELLE 60290 turbo machine. The actual nuclear reactor study is being conducted independently. Because of that, a conventional heat source is being used for the CBCL, in this preliminary design phase. This papermore » describes details of the CBCL mechanical design and the steady state simulator of the CBCL operating with NOELLE 60290 turbo machine. In principle, several gases are being considered as working fluid, as for instance: air, helium, nitrogen, CO2 and gas mixtures such as helium and xenon. However, for this first application pure helium will be used as working fluid. Simplified models of heat and mass transfer were developed to simulate thermal components. A new graphical interface was developed for the simulator to display the thermal process variables in steady state and to keep track of the modifications being implemented at the NOELLE 60290 turbo machine in order to build the CBCL. A set of new results are being produced. These new results help to establish the hot and cold source geometry allowing for price estimating costs for building the actual device. These fresh new results will be presented and discussed.« less