Shutdown and closure of the experimental breeder reactor - II. Page: 3 of 11
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removal and stabilization of the primary and secondary sodium,
a liquid metal used to transfer heat within the reactor plant.
The EBR-II is a pool-type reactor. The primary system
contained approximately 325 m (86,000 gallons) of sodium and
the secondary system contained 50 m3 (13,000 gallons). In order
to properly dispose of the sodium in compliance with the
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), a facility
was built to react the sodium to a solid sodium hydroxide
monolith for burial as a low level waste in a land disposal
Deactivation of a liquid metal fast breeder reactor (LMFBR)
presents unique concerns. Residual amounts of sodium
remaining in circuits and components must be passivated,
inerted, or removed to preclude future concerns with sodium-air
reactions that could generate potentially explosive mixtures of
hydrogen and leave corrosive compounds. The passivation
process being implemented utilizes a moist carbon dioxide gas
that generates a passive layer of sodium carbonate/sodium
bicarbonate over any quantities of residual sodium. Tests being
conducted will determine the maximum depths of sodium that
can be reacted using this method, defining the amount that must
be dealt with later to achieve RCRA clean closure.
Deactivation of the EBR-II complex is on schedule for a
March, 2002, completion. Each system associated with EBR-II
has an associated layup plan defining the system end state, as
well as instructions for achieving the layup condition. A goal of
system-by-system layup is to minimize surveillance and
maintenance requirements during the interim period between
deactivation and decommissioning. The plans also establish
document archival of not only all the closure documents, but
also the key plant documents (P&IDs, design bases,
characterization data, etc.) in a convenient location to assure the
appropriate knowledge base is available for decommissioning,
which could occur decades in the future.
Keywords: EBR-II, closure, sodium, deactivation, LMFBR.
The EBR-II is a sodium cooled research reactor located in
the southeastern portion of the Idaho National Engineering and
Environmental Laboratory (INEEL). The EBR-II is a 62.5 MW
thermal reactor that began operations in July 1964, and when
fully operational, was capable of producing up to 19.5 MW of
electrical power for the INEEL electrical grid.
The EBR-II complex, as depicted in Fig. 1, consists of the
reactor and reactor building, the Sodium Boiler Building (SBB),
the electrical power plant, reactor cooling towers, water
chemistry laboratory support facilities, and the Cover Gas
Cleanup System (CGCS). The EBR-II reactor building is
connected, through a below grade tunnel, to the Fuel
Conditioning Facility (FCF), a large inert atmosphere hot cell
facility. The FCF hot cell is used to support sodium bonded fuel
handling and research. The reactor building, a cylindrical
structure with a hemispherical domed top, has a steel
containment shell with an inner diameter of 24.4 m (80 feet) and a
height of 42.4 m (139 feet). The bottom and sides are 2.54 cm (1
inch) thick steel plate and the dome is 1.27 cm (' inch) thick,
lined with a 10.2 cm (4 inch) concrete missile shield.
The reactor was a test facility for fuels development,
materials irradiation, system and control theory tests, and
hardware development. The EBR-II core and blanket
subassemblies were contained within the reactor vessel (Fig. 2)
prior to defueling. The 1.70 m (67 inch) diameter vessel and its
shield were immersed in a sodium pool within the 7.9 m (26 feet)
diameter by 7.9 m (26 feet) high primary tank. The primary
sodium contained within this tank represented the primary
coolant for removal of the heat from the reactor core. Liquid
sodium, with a boiling point of approximately 927 C (17000F),
has excellent thermal properties and is thus an optimum coolant.
The primary system contained about 325 mn (86,000 gallons) of
sodium, and transferred heat to the secondary sodium system
(which contained about 50 m (13,000 gallons) of sodium)
through a sodium-to-sodium intermediate heat exchanger (IHX).
The secondary sodium was circulated in a closed loop through
superheaters and steam generators outside of the reactor
containment in the SBB. The high pressure steam produced in
the steam generators drove a turbine-generator to produce
The EBR-II termination activities began in October 1994
with the commencement of fuel removal from EBR-II. The fueled
assemblies were replaced with non-fueled assemblies of the
same configuration to assure stability of the core and to aid in
removal/replacement of the remainder of the ore. The fueled
assemblies were packaged for storage at the Radioactive Scrap
and Waste Facility (RSWF) at ANL-W and subsequent
treatment at the FCF.
Subsequent to completion of defueling, the sodium coolant
from the primary and secondary systems was converted to
sodium hydroxide at the Sodium Process Facility (SPF). Surface
layers of residual sodium remaining in the primary and
secondary systems will be passivated as part of the EBR-II Plant
Closure Project (EPCP). The sodium bearing systems will be
permitted as a RCRA treatment and storage facility, where
residual quantities of sodium will be ultimately reacted.
SODIUM REMOVAL AND DISPOSAL
The SPF reacted the elemental sodium from the EBR-II
primary and secondary systems to sodium hydroxide per the
following chemical formula:
Na + H20 -> NaOH +' H2
Copyright 2002 by ASME
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Michelbacher, J. A.; Baily, C. E.; Baird, D. K.; Henslee, S. P.; Knight, C. J. & Rosenberg, K. E. Shutdown and closure of the experimental breeder reactor - II., article, September 26, 2002; Illinois. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc741187/m1/3/: accessed August 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.