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Title: Advanced High Temperature Reactor Systems and Economic Analysis

The Advanced High Temperature Reactor (AHTR) is a design concept for a large-output [3400 MW(t)] fluoride-salt-cooled high-temperature reactor (FHR). FHRs, by definition, feature low-pressure liquid fluoride salt cooling, coated-particle fuel, a high-temperature power cycle, and fully passive decay heat rejection. The AHTR's large thermal output enables direct comparison of its performance and requirements with other high output reactor concepts. As high-temperature plants, FHRs can support either high-efficiency electricity generation or industrial process heat production. The AHTR analysis presented in this report is limited to the electricity generation mission. FHRs, in principle, have the potential to be low-cost electricity producers while maintaining full passive safety. However, no FHR has been built, and no FHR design has reached the stage of maturity where realistic economic analysis can be performed. The system design effort described in this report represents early steps along the design path toward being able to predict the cost and performance characteristics of the AHTR as well as toward being able to identify the technology developments necessary to build an FHR power plant. While FHRs represent a distinct reactor class, they inherit desirable attributes from other thermal power plants whose characteristics can be studied to provide general guidance on plantmore » configuration, anticipated performance, and costs. Molten salt reactors provide experience on the materials, procedures, and components necessary to use liquid fluoride salts. Liquid metal reactors provide design experience on using low-pressure liquid coolants, passive decay heat removal, and hot refueling. High temperature gas-cooled reactors provide experience with coated particle fuel and graphite components. Light water reactors (LWRs) show the potentials of transparent, high-heat capacity coolants with low chemical reactivity. Modern coal-fired power plants provide design experience with advanced supercritical-water power cycles. The current design activities build upon a series of small-scale efforts over the past decade to evaluate and describe the features and technology variants of FHRs. Key prior concept evaluation reports include the SmAHTR preconceptual design report,1 the PB-AHTR preconceptual design, and the series of early phase AHTR evaluations performed from 2004 to 2006. This report provides a power plant-focused description of the current state of the AHTR. The report includes descriptions and sizes of the major heat transport and power generation components. Component configuration and sizing are based upon early phase AHTR plant thermal hydraulic models. The report also provides a top-down AHTR comparative economic analysis. A commercially available advanced supercritical water-based power cycle was selected as the baseline AHTR power generation cycle both due to its superior performance and to enable more realistic economic analysis. The AHTR system design, however, has several remaining gaps, and the plant cost estimates consequently have substantial remaining uncertainty. For example, the enriched lithium required for the primary coolant cannot currently be produced on the required scale at reasonable cost, and the necessary core structural ceramics do not currently exist in a nuclear power qualified form. The report begins with an overview of the current, early phase, design of the AHTR plant. Only a limited amount of information is included about the core and vessel as the core design and refueling options are the subject of a companion report. The general layout of an AHTR system and site showing the relationship of the major facilities is then provided. Next is a comparative evaluation of the AHTR anticipated performance and costs. Finally, the major system design efforts necessary to bring the AHTR design to a pre-conceptual level are then presented.« less
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  1. ORNL
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
RC0405000; NERC008
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States