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Title: Feasibility of Ground Testing a Moon and Mars Surface Power Reactor in EBR-II

Abstract

Ground testing of a surface fission power system would be necessary to verify the design and validate reactor performance to support safe and sustained human exploration of the Moon and Mars. The Idaho National Laboratory (INL) has several facilities that could be adapted to support a ground test. This paper focuses on the feasibility of ground testing at the Experimental Breeder Reactor II (EBR-II) facility and using other INL existing infrastructure to support such a test. This brief study concludes that the INL EBR-II facility and supporting infrastructure are a viable option for ground testing the surface power system. It provides features and attributes that offer advantages to locating and performing ground testing at this site, and it could support the National Aeronautics and Space Administration schedules for human exploration of the Moon. This study used the initial concept examined by the U.S. Department of Energy Inter-laboratory Design and Analysis Support Team for surface power, a low-temperature, liquid-metal, three-loop Brayton power system. With some facility modification, the EBR-II can safely house a test chamber and perform long-term testing of the space reactor power system. The INL infrastructure is available to receive and provide bonded storage for special nuclear materials. Facilitiesmore » adjacent to EBR-II can provide the clean room environment needed to assemble and store the test article assembly, disassemble the power system at the conclusion of testing, and perform posttest examination. Capability for waste disposal is also available at the INL.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2]; ;  [3]
  1. Nuclear Materials Disposition and Engineering Department, Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls, ID 83415 (United States)
  2. Engineering, Design, and Drafting Department, Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls, ID 83415 (United States)
  3. Space Nuclear Systems and Technology Department, Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls, ID 83415 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
20797995
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: AIP Conference Proceedings; Journal Volume: 813; Journal Issue: 1; Conference: 10. conference on thermophysics applications in microgravity; 23. symposium on space nuclear power and propulsion; 4. conference on human/robotic technology and the national vision for space exploration; 4. symposium on space colonization; 3. symposium on new frontiers and future concepts, Albuquerque, NM (United States), 12-16 Feb 2006; Other Information: DOI: 10.1063/1.2169219; (c) 2006 American Institute of Physics; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
72 PHYSICS OF ELEMENTARY PARTICLES AND FIELDS; 21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; DESIGN; EBR-2 REACTOR; EXPLORATION; FISSION; LIQUID METALS; MOON; NASA; PERFORMANCE; POWER SYSTEMS; REACTOR MATERIALS; SPACE; TESTING; WASTE DISPOSAL; NESDPS Office of Nuclear Energy Space and Defense Power Systems

Citation Formats

Morton, Sheryl L., Baily, Carl E., Hill, Thomas J., and Werner, James E. Feasibility of Ground Testing a Moon and Mars Surface Power Reactor in EBR-II. United States: N. p., 2006. Web. doi:10.1063/1.2169219.
Morton, Sheryl L., Baily, Carl E., Hill, Thomas J., & Werner, James E. Feasibility of Ground Testing a Moon and Mars Surface Power Reactor in EBR-II. United States. doi:10.1063/1.2169219.
Morton, Sheryl L., Baily, Carl E., Hill, Thomas J., and Werner, James E. Fri . "Feasibility of Ground Testing a Moon and Mars Surface Power Reactor in EBR-II". United States. doi:10.1063/1.2169219.
@article{osti_20797995,
title = {Feasibility of Ground Testing a Moon and Mars Surface Power Reactor in EBR-II},
author = {Morton, Sheryl L. and Baily, Carl E. and Hill, Thomas J. and Werner, James E.},
abstractNote = {Ground testing of a surface fission power system would be necessary to verify the design and validate reactor performance to support safe and sustained human exploration of the Moon and Mars. The Idaho National Laboratory (INL) has several facilities that could be adapted to support a ground test. This paper focuses on the feasibility of ground testing at the Experimental Breeder Reactor II (EBR-II) facility and using other INL existing infrastructure to support such a test. This brief study concludes that the INL EBR-II facility and supporting infrastructure are a viable option for ground testing the surface power system. It provides features and attributes that offer advantages to locating and performing ground testing at this site, and it could support the National Aeronautics and Space Administration schedules for human exploration of the Moon. This study used the initial concept examined by the U.S. Department of Energy Inter-laboratory Design and Analysis Support Team for surface power, a low-temperature, liquid-metal, three-loop Brayton power system. With some facility modification, the EBR-II can safely house a test chamber and perform long-term testing of the space reactor power system. The INL infrastructure is available to receive and provide bonded storage for special nuclear materials. Facilities adjacent to EBR-II can provide the clean room environment needed to assemble and store the test article assembly, disassemble the power system at the conclusion of testing, and perform posttest examination. Capability for waste disposal is also available at the INL.},
doi = {10.1063/1.2169219},
journal = {AIP Conference Proceedings},
number = 1,
volume = 813,
place = {United States},
year = {Fri Jan 20 00:00:00 EST 2006},
month = {Fri Jan 20 00:00:00 EST 2006}
}
  • Ground testing of a surface fission power system would be necessary to verify the design and validate reactor performance to support safe and sustained human exploration of the Moon and Mars. The Idaho National Laboratory (INL) has several facilities that could be adapted to support a ground test. This paper focuses on the feasibility of ground testing at the Experimental Breeder Reactor II (EBR-II) facility and using other INL existing infrastructure to support such a test. This brief study concludes that the INL EBR-II facility and supporting infrastructure are a viable option for ground testing the surface power system. Itmore » provides features and attributes that offer advantages to locating and performing ground testing at this site, and it could support the National Aeronautics and Space Administration schedules for human exploration of the Moon. This study used the initial concept examined by the U.S. Department of Energy Inter-laboratory Design and Analysis Support Team for surface power, a lowtemperature, liquid-metal, three-loop Brayton power system. With some facility modification, the EBR-II can safely house a test chamber and perform long-term testing of the space reactor power system. The INL infrastructure is available to receive and provide bonded storage for special nuclear materials. Facilities adjacent to EBR-II can provide the clean room environment needed to assemble and store the test article assembly, disassemble the power system at the conclusion of testing, and perform posttest examination. Capability for waste disposal is also available at the INL.« less
  • A set of design considerations is proposed for nuclear power systems to provide power on the Moon or Mars. Setting the initial requirements is extremely important since they govern the choices that determine the final design. In addition, the choice of reactor and its operating conditions depends on details of the energy conversion and heat rejection systems, which must be studied in tandem. Refractory materials are not suitable for the primary pressure boundary for the reactor due to their susceptibility to chemical attack from particles of regolith on the Moon and Mars or by the carbon dioxide atmosphere on Mars.more » High nickel superalloys would be acceptable in these environments, but their limited creep strength at elevated temperatures limits reactor outlet temperature to about 1150 K or less. This temperature restriction results in the mass of a gas cooled reactor coupled to a Brayton power conversion system being somewhat lighter than that of a liquid metal-cooled reactors coupled to a Brayton power conversion system. The mass of a liquid metal-cooled reactor coupled to an advanced Stirling power conversion system would be in between that of the gas and liquid metal cooled systems which use Brayton power conversion.« less