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PostPosted: Apr 10, 2008 1:17 pm 
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Actually, I think the worst part is that they don't tell you what the eventual burnup in a commercial plant is expected to be - to provide a reference point.

Typically the burnup in LEU fuel is quoted as the fraction of U235 fissioned.

For LEU fuel with 5% - 10% U235 enrichment the typical burnup (even for LWRs, at the 4% - 5% range) is expected to be about 80% -- ie. enrichment drops from ~8% to ~1½%.

Much less than 80% burnup is not worth the trouble & expense of the enrichment & TRISO fuel fabrication effort.

So I think they still have a ways to go....

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PostPosted: Apr 10, 2008 3:04 pm 
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I located a free paper on the topic; it may be interesting because it has real, live data on SiC. SiC is a crucial fire-break (literally) and antidiffusion layer in TRISO.

Key Differences in the Fabrication of US and German TRISO-COATED Particle Fuel, and their Implications on Fuel Performance
http://www.iaea.org/inis/aws/htgr/fulltext/htr2002_201.pdf accessed 4/10/2008

The german coatings were less brittle and leaked less. The germans used a continuous process at higher temperature to apply the layers of carbon and SiC. The result was higher porosity, but coatings with more-isotropic crystals.


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PostPosted: Apr 11, 2008 7:40 pm 
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Interesting paper !

....in Table 2, I notice that while the US ran their experiments up to 79% burnup (4 tests), the Germans never went over 15%.

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 Post subject: DOE seeks NGNP input
PostPosted: Apr 18, 2008 8:44 am 
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DOE Seeks Additional Input on Next Generation Nuclear Plant

Quote:
WASHINGTON, DC –The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced it is seeking public and industry input on how to best achieve the goals and meet the requirements for the Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP) demonstration project work at DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory. DOE today issued a Request for Information and Expressions of Interest from prospective participants and interested parties on utilizing cutting-edge high temperature gas reactor technology in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by enabling nuclear energy to replace fossil fuels used by industry for process heat.


Someone should tell them to stop building an HTGR and build a LFTR instead.


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 Post subject: Re: DOE seeks NGNP input
PostPosted: Apr 18, 2008 8:58 am 
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Kirk Sorensen wrote:
Someone should tell them to stop building an HTGR and build a LFTR instead.


OK, how about one of these guys (hint) :

Quote:
DoE Funding Opportunity - 2008 Advanced Fuel Cycle Research and Development

Solicitation Description:

The U.S. Department of Energy is seeking applicants from industry, universities, and national laboratories to conduct research and development (R&D) in support of the Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative/Global Nuclear Energy Partnership advanced fuel cycle objectives. Applications are sought in the following program elements:

1. Used Fuel Separations Technology
2. Advanced Nuclear Fuel Development
3. Fast Burner Reactors and Advanced Transmutation Systems
4. Advanced Fuel Cycle Systems Analysis
5. Advanced Computing and Simulation
6. Safeguards
7. Advanced Waste Forms

Additional Information on Eligibility:
All types of entities are eligible to apply, except organizations described in section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 that engaged in lobbying activities after December 31, 1995. However, the lead applicant must be a United States company, university, or National laboratory.

Estimated Total Funding Available: $15,000,000
Expected Number of Awards: 30
Anticipated Award Size: 2000000
Award Ceiling: $2,000,000

Announcement pdf file: DE-PS07-08ID14906.pdf


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 Post subject: Re: DOE seeks NGNP input
PostPosted: Apr 19, 2008 9:24 am 
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I guess Im in the minority in this forum that consider the VHTR technology very exciting and promising. Perhaps Im biased since its going to be the main focus of my PhD, but I se no reason to oppose it in favor of LFTR or vice versa.

VHTR could be great for developing nations, passivly safe, very proliferation resistant and mature enough to be built very soon. Way better than LWR's.


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 Post subject: Re: DOE seeks NGNP input
PostPosted: Apr 19, 2008 9:32 am 
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wait a minute, they are not going to build this damn thing before 2017??
http://nuclear.inl.gov/deliverables/doc ... -02293.pdf

In that case it seems like a wasted effort. Both south africa and china should have working pebble bed reactors by then :?:


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 Post subject: Re: DOE seeks NGNP input
PostPosted: Apr 19, 2008 9:55 am 
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johan wrote:
VHTR could be great for developing nations, passivly safe, very proliferation resistant and mature enough to be built very soon. Way better than LWR's.


Agreed, but nigh unto impossible to reprocess. LFTRs have all the same advantages AND they are very fuel efficient and easy to reprocess.


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 Post subject: Re: DOE seeks NGNP input
PostPosted: Apr 21, 2008 4:46 pm 
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johan wrote:
wait a minute, they are not going to build this damn thing before 2017??
http://nuclear.inl.gov/deliverables/doc ... -02293.pdf

In that case it seems like a wasted effort. Both south africa and china should have working pebble bed reactors by then :?:


They are only promising to have the fuel "qualified" by 2017. They sure as hell are not promising to have a demo reactor by 2017. I agree. Why do all this work on a reactor you will be able to order from a vendor by the same time frame.


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 Post subject: Re: DOE seeks NGNP input
PostPosted: Apr 22, 2008 8:21 pm 
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jaro wrote:
OK, how about one of these guys (hint) :

3. Fast Burner Reactors and Advanced Transmutation Systems


Jaro: I think you're on to something. It seems to me that the work in the Czech Republic and France seems to view an MSR from the perspective of a transmutation system. The discussion here has been more centered around the LFTR as a power reactor. Why not use this opening to go forward with a transmutation proposal? David's graphite free design might be a good start, perhaps with a modified fluoride salt formulation (Li-Be-Na or Na-Zr). That would produce a pretty wide spread of neutron energies (as some of the French plots show), which would be sufficient for some level transmutation.

I suppose one could suggest a liquid chloride reactor (or even a two fluid reactor where one fluid is a chloride and another is a fluoride), but that would be a much bigger undertaking. Plus, the chemistry of fluoride salts seems to be relatively better in the nuclear regime than chloride salts.

The usual caveat here is that I'm not a nuclear engineer, so I'm not certain if the proposal is feasible. Perhaps an expert could chime in?


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 Post subject: Re: DOE seeks NGNP input
PostPosted: Apr 23, 2008 6:23 am 
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Glad you see it the same way, honziku.

Realistically, the only people who could compete for a DoE grant would be those who can do reasonably good work with neutron transport & fuel depletion/conversion computer codes.
I think there are fewer than a handful on this forum, and only one or two who might possibly want to actually do something about it.

So its quite a long shot -- even when there's money available....


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 Post subject: Re: DOE seeks NGNP input
PostPosted: Apr 23, 2008 6:36 am 
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Kirk Sorensen wrote:
Agreed, but nigh unto impossible to reprocess. LFTRs have all the same advantages AND they are very fuel efficient and easy to reprocess.


Fully agree :) But the difficult reprocessing might be a advantage from a proliferation point of view. Nobody should feel uncomfterable with say Libya, Iran or any other sensitive country building triso fueled reactors.


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 Post subject: Re: DOE seeks NGNP input
PostPosted: May 01, 2008 5:55 am 
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Not that I disagree with the VHTR model, as it could also work with Thorium and is very easily safeguarded and very easy to operate safe...

There is only a small poroblem: He-supply!

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Liking All Nuclear Systems, But Looking At Them Through Dark And Critical Glasses.


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PostPosted: May 01, 2008 9:40 pm 
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Note to readers . . . in a significant departure from reporting and analyzing the news about the nuclear industry, I've written a brief essay on what it will take for the Idaho laboratory to succeed with the design, licensing, construction, and operation of the Next Generation Nuclear plant? I'm cross posting this from my blog to these discussion forums at the request of your moderator Kirk Sorensen. Comments are welcome.
http://djysrv.blogspot.com/2008/04/how-will-idaho-lab-build-ngnp.html
Tuesday, April 29, 2008

How will Idaho lab build NGNP?
Answer - two heads may be better than one


The Idaho National Laboratory (INL) is facing a formidable challenge with the release of a request for information (RFI) earlier this month by the Department of Energy (DOE). The government wants to hear from firms that think they can build the Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP) which is most likely going to be a high temperature gas cooled reactor, possibly a pebble bed design. The reactor is expected to produce electricity, but also process heat for industry, e.g., oil refining, and even hydrogen depending on design.

The current setup at the INL is the a prime contractor on the lab side is responsible for nuclear energy R&D. However, the contractor has never built a nuclear reactor and from an organizational perspective isn't positioned to manage the construction of a project of this magnitude and do everything else.

On the government side the DOE Idaho field office is also concerned with meeting the enforceable milestones of a federal consent decree governing the cleanup of Cold War legacy radioactive waste. Again, from an organizational perspective, with one $2.9 billion cleanup contract its plate, the current staff doesn't have the ability to also manage and complete a $2 billion nuclear reactor demonstration project.

So how is the work going to get done? Here are my two cents on how two heads will help the Idaho lab build NGNP and still do everything else.

First - split the management of the DOE Idaho field office into two domains. Keep one for the cleanup program, and create a second field office management structure and executive solely for the purpose of managing the nuclear energy programs including the R&D work, but especially to manage the reactor build. This move would put management horse power in both places and end the situation of having competing demands hit the desk of a single executive.

Second, have DOE's nuclear energy program office in Washington, DC, let a prime contract solely for the design, construction, licensing, and operation of NGNP. This makes the reactor project a tenant on the INL desert and retains the R&D mission as an integral part of the demonstration nuclear reactor project without bogging down a science outfit with a multi-billion dollar construction operation.

The contract would be developed along the lines of a commercial nuclear reactor Engineering & Procurement Contract (EPC), but with a complete life cycle program from design to operation. Licensing the new design with the NRC is an essential step on the road to commercial success.

Third, get help. The South Africans are developing a pebble bed modular reactor (PBMR). Why reinvent the wheel? At a minimum if INL is not already having these discussions, explore the possibility of a joint effort. The PBMR folks have already committed to building a demonstration 200 Mw reactor. INL's reactor is expected to be about 300 Mw. Unless the engineering approaches are radically different, it looks like an interesting opportunity.

Fourth, get DOE's Office of Science in the picture. Nuclear science is a hard discipline and it takes a lot of brainpower to advance the state of the art. NGNP isn't just a reactor project. There are a host of science disciplines, hard and soft, involved in a radical departure from PWR/BWR designs. They include material science, human factors, fuel fabrication, and so on.

If NGNP on the R&D side is to succeed, DOE will need to mobilize scientists at labs like Oak Ridge, Argonne, and the other non-defense labs to get the job done. International collaboration would be a good idea because it would build capacity globally to support this technology once it reaches the commercial stage.

At the start of this blog post I said that "two heads are better than one." I pointed out that the lab contractor needs an EPC firm to design, build, license, and operate the reactor. That's the first set of two heads. The second set is on the DOE field offices side where conceivably two executives could manage their respective multi-billion dollars programs and staff needed to succeed in both cleanup and reactor build. This does mean more feds, but there is a lot more work to do.

Frankly, with the release of the NGNP RFI the work of the INL has just doubled so two heads would be a good idea.

# # #

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Neutrron Bytes
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PostPosted: May 05, 2008 2:32 pm 
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I have reason to believe that an organization at INEL knows how to construct nuclear reactors. Admiral Rickovers' biography mentions that a classified site in Idaho was used to prototype naval nuclear reactors. INEL is the only plausible site of which I know. Also, INEL sells SAPHIRE, a software system for managing fault trees, in order to get a statistically-valid sample of users (I got mine for $500; comparable commercial programs are $20,000+). The miscellania in SAPHIRE's documentation seems to indicate that it was designed to characterize reactor safety.

That said, I agree that the south african PBR seems like an excellent program to team with, and a silly one to reinvent.


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