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

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