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Title: Hydrogen Production from the Next Generation Nuclear Plant

Abstract

The Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP) is a high temperature gas-cooled reactor that will be capable of producing hydrogen, electricity and/or high temperature process heat for industrial use. The project has initiated the conceptual design phase and when completed will demonstrate the viability of hydrogen generation using nuclear produced process heat. This paper explains how industry and the U.S. Government are cooperating to advance nuclear hydrogen technology. It also describes the issues being explored and the results of recent R&D including materials development and testing, thermal-fluids research, and systems analysis. The paper also describes the hydrogen production technologies being considered (including various thermochemical processes and high-temperature electrolysis).

Authors:
;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
Sponsoring Org.:
DOE - NE
OSTI Identifier:
933181
Report Number(s):
INL/CON-08-14016
TRN: US0803758
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC07-99ID-13727
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: National Hydrogen Association -2008,Sacramento, CA,03/30/2008,04/03/2008
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
08 HYDROGEN; 11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; DESIGN; ELECTRICITY; ELECTROLYSIS; GAS COOLED REACTORS; HYDROGEN; HYDROGEN PRODUCTION; PROCESS HEAT; SYSTEMS ANALYSIS; TESTING; THERMOCHEMICAL PROCESSES; VIABILITY; Hydrogen; NGNP

Citation Formats

M. Patterson, and C. Park. Hydrogen Production from the Next Generation Nuclear Plant. United States: N. p., 2008. Web.
M. Patterson, & C. Park. Hydrogen Production from the Next Generation Nuclear Plant. United States.
M. Patterson, and C. Park. 2008. "Hydrogen Production from the Next Generation Nuclear Plant". United States. doi:. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/933181.
@article{osti_933181,
title = {Hydrogen Production from the Next Generation Nuclear Plant},
author = {M. Patterson and C. Park},
abstractNote = {The Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP) is a high temperature gas-cooled reactor that will be capable of producing hydrogen, electricity and/or high temperature process heat for industrial use. The project has initiated the conceptual design phase and when completed will demonstrate the viability of hydrogen generation using nuclear produced process heat. This paper explains how industry and the U.S. Government are cooperating to advance nuclear hydrogen technology. It also describes the issues being explored and the results of recent R&D including materials development and testing, thermal-fluids research, and systems analysis. The paper also describes the hydrogen production technologies being considered (including various thermochemical processes and high-temperature electrolysis).},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2008,
month = 3
}

Conference:
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  • The Department of Energy is working with industry to develop a next generation, high-temperature gas-cooled nuclear reactor (HTGR) as a part of the effort to supply the US with abundant, clean and secure energy. The Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP) project, led by the Idaho National Laboratory, will demonstrate the ability of the HTGR to generate hydrogen, electricity, and high-quality process heat for a wide range of industrial applications. Substituting HTGR power for traditional fossil fuel resources reduces the cost and supply vulnerability of natural gas and oil, and reduces or eliminates greenhouse gas emissions. As authorized by the Energymore » Policy Act of 2005, industry leaders are developing designs for the construction of a commercial prototype producing up to 600 MWt of power by 2021. This paper describes a variety of critical applications that are appropriate for the HTGR with an emphasis placed on applications requiring a clean and reliable source of hydrogen. An overview of the NGNP project status and its significant technology development efforts are also presented.« less
  • The work reported here is the preliminary analysis of two-phase Thermosyphon heat transfer performance with various alkali metals. Thermosyphon is a device for transporting heat from one point to another with quite extraordinary properties. Heat transport occurs via evaporation and condensation, and the heat transport fluid is re-circulated by gravitational force. With this mode of heat transfer, the thermosyphon has the capability to transport heat at high rates over appreciable distances, virtually isothermally and without any requirement for external pumping devices. For process heat, intermediate heat exchangers (IHX) are required to transfer heat from the NGNP to the hydrogen plantmore » in the most efficient way possible. The production of power at higher efficiency using Brayton Cycle, and hydrogen production requires both heat at higher temperatures (up to 1000oC) and high effectiveness compact heat exchangers to transfer heat to either the power or process cycle. The purpose for selecting a compact heat exchanger is to maximize the heat transfer surface area per volume of heat exchanger; this has the benefit of reducing heat exchanger size and heat losses. The IHX design requirements are governed by the allowable temperature drop between the outlet of the NGNP (900oC, based on the current capabilities of NGNP), and the temperatures in the hydrogen production plant. Spiral Heat Exchangers (SHE’s) have superior heat transfer characteristics, and are less susceptible to fouling. Further, heat losses to surroundings are minimized because of its compact configuration. SHEs have never been examined for phase-change heat transfer applications. The research presented provides useful information for thermosyphon design and Spiral Heat Exchanger.« less
  • This paper provides the results of an assessment of two possible versions of the Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP), a prismatic fuel type helium gas-cooled reactor and a pebble-bed fuel helium gas reactor. Insights gained regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the two designs are also discussed. Both designs will meet the three basic requirements that have been set for the NGNP: a coolant outlet temperature of 1000 C, passive safety, and a total power output consistent with that expected for commercial high-temperature gas-cooled reactors. Two major modifications of the current Gas Turbine- Modular Helium Reactor (GT-MHR) design were neededmore » to obtain a prismatic block design with a 1000 C outlet temperature: reducing the bypass flow and better controlling the inlet coolant flow distribution to the core. The total power that could be obtained for different core heights without exceeding a peak transient fuel temperature of 1600 °C during a high or low-pressure conduction cooldown event was calculated. With a coolant inlet temperature of 490 °C and 10% nominal core bypass flow, it is estimated that the peak power for a 10-block high core is 686 MWt, for a 12-block high core is 786 MWt, and for a 14-block core is about 889 MWt. The core neutronics calculations showed that the NGNP will exhibit strongly negative Doppler and isothermal temperature coefficients of reactivity over the burnup cycle. In the event of rapid loss of the helium gas, there is negligible core reactivity change. However, water or steam ingress into the core coolant channels can produce a relatively large reactivity effect. Two versions of an annular pebble-bed NGNP have also been developed, a 300 and a 600 MWt module. From this work we learned how to design passively safe pebble bed reactors that produce more than 600 MWt. We also found a way to improve both the fuel utilization and safety by modifying the pebble design (by adjusting the fuel zone radius in the pebble to optimize the fuel-to-moderator ratio). We also learned how to perform design optimization calculations by using a genetic algorithm that automatically selects a sequence of design parameter sets to meet specified fitness criteria increasingly well. In the pebble-bed NGNP design work, we use the genetic algorithm to direct the INEEL’s PEBBED code to perform hundreds of code runs in less than a day to find optimized design configurations. And finally, we learned how to calculate cross sections more accurately for pebble bed reactors, and we identified research needs for the further refinement of the cross section calculations.« less
  • This paper provides the results of an assessment at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) of two possible versions of the Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP), a prismatic fuel type helium gas-cooled reactor and a pebble-bed fuel helium gas reactor. Insights gained regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the two designs are also discussed. Both INEEL designs will meet the three basic requirements that have been set for the NGNP: a coolant outlet temperature of 1000 deg. C, passive safety, and a total power output consistent with that expected for commercial high-temperature gas-cooled reactors (HTGRs). Two major modificationsmore » of the current Gas Turbine-Modular Helium Reactor (GT-MHR) design were needed to obtain a prismatic block design with a 1000 deg. C outlet temperature: reducing the bypass flow and better controlling the inlet coolant flow distribution to the core. The total power that could be obtained for different core heights without exceeding a peak transient fuel temperature of 1600 deg. C during a low-pressure conduction cooldown event (also sometimes called a de-pressurized loss of flow event) was also calculated. With a coolant inlet temperature of 490 deg. C and 10% nominal core bypass flow, it is estimated that the peak power for a 10- block high core is 686 MWt, for a 12-block high core is 786 MWt, and for a 14-block core is about 889 MWt. The core neutronics calculations showed that the NGNP will exhibit strongly negative Doppler and isothermal temperature coefficients of reactivity over the burnup cycle. In the event of rapid loss of the helium gas, there is negligible core reactivity change. However, water or steam ingress into the core coolant channels can produce a relatively large reactivity effect. Two versions of a passively safe annular pebble-bed NGNP have also been developed at the INEEL, a 300 and a 600 MWt module. A modified pebble design that improves both the fuel utilization and safety was identified (the fuel zone radius in the pebble was adjusted to optimize the fuel-to-moderator ratio). Design optimization calculations were performed with a genetic algorithm that automatically selects a sequence of design parameter sets to meet specified fitness criteria increasingly well. And finally, cross sections were calculated more accurately for pebble bed reactors, and research needs were identified for the further refinement of the cross section calculations. (authors)« less
  • The Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP) project was authorized in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct), tasking the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) with demonstrating High Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactor (HTGR) technology. The demonstration is to include the technical, licensing, operational, and commercial viability of HTGR technology for the production of electricity and hydrogen. The Nuclear Hydrogen Initiative (NHI), a component of the DOE Hydrogen Program managed by the Office of Nuclear Energy, is also investigating multiple approaches to cost effective hydrogen production from nuclear energy. The objective of NHI is development of the technology and information basis for amore » future decision on commercial viability. The initiatives are clearly intertwined. While the objectives of NGNP and NHI are generally consistent, NGNP has progressed to the project definition phase and the project plan has matured. Multiple process applications for the NGNP require process heat, electricity and hydrogen in varied combinations and sizes. Coupling these processes to the reactor in multiple configurations adds complexity to the design, licensing and demonstration of both the reactor and the hydrogen production process. Commercial viability of hydrogen production may depend on the specific application and heat transport configuration. A component test facility (CTF) is planned by the NGNP to support testing and demonstration of NGNP systems, including those for hydrogen production, in multiple configurations. Engineering-scale demonstrations in the CTF are expected to start in 2012 to support scheduled design and licensing activities leading to subsequent construction and operation. Engineering-scale demonstrations planned by NHI are expected to start at least two years later. Reconciliation of these schedules is recommended to successfully complete both initiatives. Hence, closer and earlier integration of hydrogen process development and heat transport systems is sensible. For integration purposes, an analysis comparing the design, cost and schedule impact of maintaining a technology neutral approach through conceptual design or making an early hydrogen process technology selection was performed. Early selection does not specifically eliminate a technology, but rather selects the first hydrogen technology for demonstration. A systems-engineering approach was taken to define decision-making criteria for selecting a hydrogen technology. The relative technical, cost and schedule risks of each approach were analyzed and risk mitigation strategies were recommended, including provisions to maintain close collaboration with the NHI. The results of these analyses are presented here.« less