New concept of small power reactor without on-site refueling for non-proliferation

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Energy demand in developing countries is increasing to support growing populations and economies. This demand is expected to continue growing at a rapid pace well into the next century. Because current power sources, including fossil, renewable, and nuclear, cannot meet energy demands, many developing countries are interested in building a new generation of small reactor systems to help meet their needs. The U.S. recognizes the need for energy in the developing countries. In its 1998 Comprehensive Energy Strategy, the Department of Energy calls for research into low-cost, proliferation- resistant, nuclear reactor technologies to ensure that this demand can be met ... continued below

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19 p.

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Brown, N.W., LLNL July 13, 1998.

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Energy demand in developing countries is increasing to support growing populations and economies. This demand is expected to continue growing at a rapid pace well into the next century. Because current power sources, including fossil, renewable, and nuclear, cannot meet energy demands, many developing countries are interested in building a new generation of small reactor systems to help meet their needs. The U.S. recognizes the need for energy in the developing countries. In its 1998 Comprehensive Energy Strategy, the Department of Energy calls for research into low-cost, proliferation- resistant, nuclear reactor technologies to ensure that this demand can be met in a manner consistent with U.S. non-proliferation goals and policies. This research has two primary thrusts: first, the development of a small proliferation-resistant nuclear system (i.e., a technology focus); second, the continuation of open communication with the international community through early engagement and cooperation on small reactor development. A system that meets developing country requirements must: (1) achieve reliably safe operation with a minimum of maintenance and supporting infrastructure; (2) offer economic competitiveness with alternative energy sources available to the candidate sites; and (3) demonstrate significant improvements in proliferation resistance relative to existing reactor systems. These challenges are the most significant driving forces behind the LLNL proposed program for development of a new, small nuclear reactor system. This report describes a technical approach for developing small nuclear power systems for use in developing countries. The approach being proposed will establish a preliminary set of requirements that, if met, will cause new innovative approaches to system design to be used. The proposed approach will borrow from experience gained over the past forty years with four types of nuclear reactor technologies (LWR, LMR, HTGR, and MSR) to develop four or more pre-conceptual designs. The pre-conceptual designs will be used to confirm the adequacy of the requirements through iteration and trade studies. A down selection to a preferred and backup concept would be made following a 12-18 month design effort. The selected designs, system design specifications, and the necessary R&D programs would be developed in greater detail over the next three and one-half years. A reactor in the 50 to 150 MWe class, nominally 100 MWe, shows the best potential for meeting these challenges. The system will have unique characteristics to achieve proliferation resistance, and will maximize the reliance on passive safety features to reduce the risk of serious accidents and their consequences, simplify operations and maintenance, and reduce the need for the developing country to establish a sophisticated and expensive nuclear infrastructure. In particular, to eliminate all on- site refueling, the reactor will be equipped with a long-life core that will be returned to the supplier when spent. This process will be managed under international control to further both overall non- proliferation objectives and to reduce the infrastructure burden on the developing country. It will also reduce the anticipated burden and expense to the International Atomic Energy Agency for assuring security associated with expanded international use of nuclear energy. An integral part of the program will be the development of new approaches for implementing international safeguards applicable to the entire fuel cycle including recycling and waste disposal. The report discusses the preliminary requirements and the rationale for selecting them. It then discusses the four nuclear system technologies and how they might proceed to meet the requirements. Brief discussions are provided on the approaches to stimulating the appropriate international and industrial participation necessary to finance development of a design with improved proliferation resistance that is useful to the developing countries.

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19 p.

Notes

OSTI as DE98058778

Other: FDE: PDF; PL:

Source

  • International Atomic Energy Agency Advisory Group meeting on propulsion reactor technologies for civilian applications, Obninsk (Russian Federation), 20-24 Jul 1998

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  • Other: DE98058778
  • Report No.: UCRL-JC--131317
  • Report No.: CONF-980757--
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 325383
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc682148

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • July 13, 1998

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • July 25, 2015, 2:20 a.m.

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  • April 10, 2017, 2:32 p.m.

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Brown, N.W., LLNL. New concept of small power reactor without on-site refueling for non-proliferation, article, July 13, 1998; California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc682148/: accessed October 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.