Cross-comparison of fast reactor concepts with various coolants

Pavel Hejzlar, Neil E. Todreas, Eugene Shwageraus, Anna Nikiforova, Robert Petroski, Michael J. Driscoll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Four fast reactor concepts using lead (LFR), liquid salt, NaCl-KCl-MgCl2 (LSFR), sodium (SFR), and supercritical CO2 (GFR) coolants are compared. Since economy of scale and power conversion system compactness are the same by virtue of the consistent 2400 MWt rating and use of the S-CO2 power conversion system, the achievable plant thermal efficiency, core power density and core specific powers become the dominant factors. The potential to achieve the highest efficiency among the four reactor concepts can be ranked from highest to lowest as follows: (1) GFR, (2) LFR and LSFR, and (3) SFR. Both the lead- and salt-cooled designs achieve about 30% higher power density than the gas-cooled reactor, but attain power density 3 times smaller than that of the sodium-cooled reactor. Fuel cycle costs are favored for the sodium reactor by virtue of its high specific power of 65 kW/kgHM compared to the lead, salt and gas reactor values of 45, 35, and 21 kW/kgHM, respectively. In terms of safety, all concepts can be designed to accommodate the unprotected limiting accidents through passive means in a self-controllable manner. However, it does not seem to be a preferable option for the GFR where the active or semi-passive approach will likely result in a more economic and reliable plant. Lead coolant with its superior neutronic characteristics and the smallest coolant temperature reactivity coefficient is easiest to design for self-controllability, while the LSFR requires special reactivity devices to overcome its large positive coolant temperature coefficient. The GFR required a special core design using BeO diluent and a supercritical CO2 reflector to achieve negative coolant void worth-one of the conditions necessary for inherent shutdown following large LOCA. Protected accidents need to be given special attention in the LSFR and LFR due to the small margin to freezing of their coolants, and to a lesser extent in the SFR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2672-2691
Number of pages20
JournalNuclear Engineering and Design
Volume239
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2009

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