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PostPosted: Jan 28, 2013 4:43 pm 
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There is a good question. Did the pioneers ever stop the pumps during the MSRE to determine what would happen? Do we know the the negative temp coefficient and or freeze plug takes care of the problem?

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PostPosted: Jan 28, 2013 9:31 pm 
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Joined: Jul 28, 2008 10:44 pm
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KitemanSA wrote:
There is a good question. Did the pioneers ever stop the pumps during the MSRE to determine what would happen? Do we know the the negative temp coefficient and or freeze plug takes care of the problem?

I think they did but I'm not sure it is relevant because the power level was so low (limited by the heat exchanger to the ambient air and I presume legal limits).

The French team did evaluate their system against a pump stop. If you stop the pumps instantly you can get a significant temperature rise. But if they take a second to stop then the temperature rises just to steady state with no overshoot. When you stop the pumps you stop losing delayed neutrons outside the core and this increases the reactivity. A temperature rise of 100-200 degrees C will compensate for this.

There are other effects to watch for as well. The relatively rapid temperature change will induce stresses on the piping - especially where piping joins the core. ORNL analyzed this for MSBR and found that they had to change the design. They came up with reasonable solutions. The French will have to do the same (or already has done so). Cyril's approach to put the whole reactor/pump/HX into a pool of molten salt greatly reduces the thermal stresses.

These specifics do require a lot of engineering. They must be done prior to a license application. But they do not represent serious development risk.

STG is correct that there is a great deal of work to do before we have a reactor design worth licensing.


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