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Title: An underground nuclear power station using self-regulating heat-pipe controlled reactors

Abstract

A nuclear reactor for generating electricity is disposed underground at the bottom of a vertical hole that can be drilled using conventional drilling technology. The primary coolant of the reactor core is the working fluid in a plurality of thermodynamically coupled heat pipes emplaced in the hole between the heat source at the bottom of the hole and heat exchange means near the surface of the earth. Additionally, the primary coolant (consisting of the working fluid in the heat pipes in the reactor core) moderates neutrons and regulates their reactivity, thus keeping the power of the reactor substantially constant. At the end of its useful life, the reactor core may be abandoned in place. Isolation from the atmosphere in case of accident or for abandonment is provided by the operation of explosive closures and mechanical valves emplaced along the hole. This invention combines technology developed and tested for small, highly efficient, space-based nuclear electric power plants with the technology of fast- acting closure mechanisms developed and used for underground testing of nuclear weapons. This invention provides a nuclear power installation which is safe from the worst conceivable reactor accident, namely, the explosion of a nuclear weapon near the ground surfacemore » of a nuclear power reactor. 5 figs.« less

Inventors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab., CA (USA)
OSTI Identifier:
6299539
Patent Number(s):
PATENTS-US-A7194772
Application Number:
ON: DE89009666
Assignee:
Dept. of Energy LLNL; ERA-14-022015; EDB-89-061899
DOE Contract Number:  
W-7405-ENG-48
Resource Type:
Patent
Resource Relation:
Other Information: Portions of this document are illegible in microfiche products
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; 22 GENERAL STUDIES OF NUCLEAR REACTORS; UNDERGROUND NUCLEAR STATIONS; DESIGN; DRILLING; HEAT TRANSFER; HYDRAULICS; INVENTIONS; PIPES; POWER REACTORS; REACTOR SAFETY; WELLS; ENERGY TRANSFER; FLUID MECHANICS; MECHANICS; NUCLEAR FACILITIES; NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS; POWER PLANTS; REACTORS; SAFETY; THERMAL POWER PLANTS; UNDERGROUND FACILITIES; 210000* - Nuclear Power Plants; 220900 - Nuclear Reactor Technology- Reactor Safety

Citation Formats

Hampel, V.E. An underground nuclear power station using self-regulating heat-pipe controlled reactors. United States: N. p., 1988. Web.
Hampel, V.E. An underground nuclear power station using self-regulating heat-pipe controlled reactors. United States.
Hampel, V.E. Tue . "An underground nuclear power station using self-regulating heat-pipe controlled reactors". United States.
@article{osti_6299539,
title = {An underground nuclear power station using self-regulating heat-pipe controlled reactors},
author = {Hampel, V.E.},
abstractNote = {A nuclear reactor for generating electricity is disposed underground at the bottom of a vertical hole that can be drilled using conventional drilling technology. The primary coolant of the reactor core is the working fluid in a plurality of thermodynamically coupled heat pipes emplaced in the hole between the heat source at the bottom of the hole and heat exchange means near the surface of the earth. Additionally, the primary coolant (consisting of the working fluid in the heat pipes in the reactor core) moderates neutrons and regulates their reactivity, thus keeping the power of the reactor substantially constant. At the end of its useful life, the reactor core may be abandoned in place. Isolation from the atmosphere in case of accident or for abandonment is provided by the operation of explosive closures and mechanical valves emplaced along the hole. This invention combines technology developed and tested for small, highly efficient, space-based nuclear electric power plants with the technology of fast- acting closure mechanisms developed and used for underground testing of nuclear weapons. This invention provides a nuclear power installation which is safe from the worst conceivable reactor accident, namely, the explosion of a nuclear weapon near the ground surface of a nuclear power reactor. 5 figs.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {1988},
month = {5}
}