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Next-Gen Nuclear Power with Transatomic

Every four years the entire primary loop is changed out, returned to a centralized recycling facility, decontaminated, disassembled, inspected, and refurbished. Upgrades can be introduced without significantly disrupting power generation. Each module contains two replaceable reactors in sealed Cans. The Cans sit in silos. Of course, this reactor, like most SMRs, is walk-away-safe.

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Since ThorCon fuel is a liquid salt, if the reactor overheats for whatever reason, ThorCon will shut itself down, and passively handle the decay heat. No power, no machinery, no operator action is required. This is built into the reactor physics. The operators, or even any bad actors, can do nothing to prevent safe shutdown and cooling.

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Light Water Reactor Safety - 1st Edition

The spilled fuel merely flows to a drain tank where it is passively cooled. The troublesome fission products, including I, Sr and Cs, are chemically bound to the salt. They will end up in the drain tank as well. The plant is also an extremely strong structure. It cannot not be penetrated even by a Boeing jet in a perpendicular impact at knots. The hull, which is a double barrier, is only one of at least three gas tight barriers between the fuel salt and the atmosphere.

The Can silo is a gas tight structure; and the Can itself is a gas tight structure. During the Manhattan Project, this possible design feature was assigned to a Canadian research team, since heavy-water production facilities already existed in Canada. In late , shortly after the end of the war, the Canadian project succeeded in building a heavy-water-moderated, natural uranium-fueled research reactor, the so-called ZEEP Zero-Energy Experimental Pile , at Chalk River , Ontario.

Because of a lack of information on uranium separation techniques, the first British efforts, which took place after the war, were centred on the use of natural uranium as a fuel. In GLEEP Graphite Low Energy Experimental Pile , an air -cooled reactor with a graphite moderator and uranium metal fuel clad in aluminum , was constructed and went critical at Harwell, Berkshire, England , generating kilowatts of thermal energy.

The French reactor too used nonenriched uranium in its fuel. In the Soviet Union began a formal research program to create a controlled fission reaction, explore isotope separation, and investigate atomic bomb designs. After the war, the program began to make significant progress toward the design of a fission weapon; in tandem, reactors were designed for the purpose of producing weapons-grade plutonium.

Finding common ground

The first Soviet chain reaction took place in Moscow in late , using an experimental graphite-moderated natural uranium pile known as F The first plutonium production reactor became operational at the Chelyabinsk complex in the Ural Mountains of Russia in Nuclear reactor. Article Media. Info Print Print. Table Of Contents.

Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. Load Previous Page. History of reactor development Since the inception of nuclear power on an industrial scale in the midth century, fundamental reactor designs have progressed so as to maximize efficiency and safety on the basis of lessons learned from previous designs. This flash, which was evidently of nuclear origin, was similar to those which had accompanied the earlier and less violent experiments.

Senate re-introduces bill to help advanced nuclear technology

Fuel plate fragments were scattered for a distance of feet, but no widespread dangerous dispersal was observed. The destructive energy was not a nuclear explosion but a steam explosion. This was initiated by the hot fuel creating a layer of insulating steam letting the metallic fuel melt. When the water returned the mixing of the water and molten fuel caused the destructive steam explosion. The final test revealed that the predictions of total energy and fuel plate temperatures had been considerably too low.

Instead of the melting of a few fuel plates, the test melted a major fraction of the entire core. The discrepancy was attributed to the uncertanties of extrapolation.


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The results of this energy liberation in the way of peak pressures and explosive violence lie in a region where there had been no previous experimental data. In this respect, the results were more informative than they would have been had the experiment been performed under conditions which actually gave the predicted energy release. The reactor was not equipped with a turbine generator, so it could not produce electricity. It vented the energy it produced in the form of steam.

Tests of new core combinations were tried using varying enrichments of uranium in the metal fuel plates. It was a boiling water system operating at psi, making it essentially a power experiment. The power level was about 6.

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The energy produced was released in the form of steam. At that point in time, no city in the world had been powered entirely by nuclear energy. This reactor, with a design power of 20 MW t , was used principally to test high thermal capacity fuel elements made from ceramics of uranium and thorium. It was capable of producing 2. The new ceramic core of uranium-thorium oxide fuel elements demonstrated the feasibility of stable operation with this fuel, which can operate at higher temperatures, is less reactive with water coolant in case of cladding rupture, is cheaper to manufacture, and has higher burnup posssibilities.

It also produced measurable quantities of the artificial, thorium-derived fuel, uranium It was operated with this core until April 17, Operation with a element core at psig and degrees Celsius started in May and continued intermittently until December 5, The element core was then revised in order to increase the maximum power for continuation of stability studies. The boron steel poison rods were removed and 10 new elements were added to the periphery of the core.

The new, safer nuclear reactors that might help stop climate change

On February 19, , the reactor was started with the revised core. Subsequent operation of the reactor during the spring of was for the purpose of evaluating the effect of operating a direct-cycle boiling water reactor with a fuel element defect and for locating defective elements in the core. Measurements made during the reactor operations included the following:. On the basis of these experiments, it was predicted that a boiling reactor, fueled with ceramic fuel, can safely operate for long periods of time with many fuel cladding defects.

In the s and s, fossil-fired power plants were pushing hihger and higher steam superheats to improve generation efficiencies and reduce wet steam erosion of turbine components. Nuclear proponents wnted to show that nuclear could operate in the superheat range.

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In , a proposal to construct an extremely flexible boiling water reactor was submitted. The primary objectives were to test nuclear superheating concepts and to advance the art of boiling water reactor design.


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  • To do this, workers performed experiments which improved understanding of factors limiting the stability of boiling reactors at high power densities. The reactor demonstrated that improved efficiency from manufactured steam is obtainable by incorporating a number of superheat fuel assemblies in the reactor core lattice. This increased cycle efficiency held promise of reducing nuclear power costs. One of the parameters investigated in the BORAX-V experimental program was void formation formation of steam bubbles and its effect on reactivity, stability, and heat transfer.