Nuclear Safeguards Considerations For The Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR)

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High temperature reactors (HTRs) have been considered since the 1940s, and have been constructed and demonstrated in the United Kingdom (Dragon), United States (Peach Bottom and Fort Saint Vrain), Japan (HTTR), Germany (AVR and THTR-300), and have been the subject of conceptual studies in Russia (VGM). The attraction to these reactors is that they can use a variety of reactor fuels, including abundant thorium, which upon reprocessing of the spent fuel can produce fissile U-233. Hence, they could extend the stocks of available uranium, provided the fuel is reprocessed. Another attractive attribute is that HTRs typically operate at a much ... continued below

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Durst, Phillip Casey; Beddingfield, David; Boyer, Brian; Bean, Robert; Collins, Michael; Ehinger, Michael et al. October 1, 2009.

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High temperature reactors (HTRs) have been considered since the 1940s, and have been constructed and demonstrated in the United Kingdom (Dragon), United States (Peach Bottom and Fort Saint Vrain), Japan (HTTR), Germany (AVR and THTR-300), and have been the subject of conceptual studies in Russia (VGM). The attraction to these reactors is that they can use a variety of reactor fuels, including abundant thorium, which upon reprocessing of the spent fuel can produce fissile U-233. Hence, they could extend the stocks of available uranium, provided the fuel is reprocessed. Another attractive attribute is that HTRs typically operate at a much higher temperature than conventional light water reactors (LWRs), because of the use of pyrolytic carbon and silicon carbide coated (TRISO) fuel particles embedded in ceramic graphite. Rather than simply discharge most of the unused heat from the working fluid in the power plant to the environment, engineers have been designing reactors for 40 years to recover this heat and make it available for district heating or chemical conversion plants. Demonstrating high-temperature nuclear energy conversion was the purpose behind Fort Saint Vrain in the United States, THTR-300 in Germany, HTTR in Japan, and HTR-10 and HTR-PM, being built in China. This resulted in nuclear reactors at least 30% or more thermodynamically efficient than conventional LWRs, especially if the waste heat can be effectively utilized in chemical processing plants. A modern variant of high temperature reactors is the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR). Originally developed in the United States and Germany, it is now being redesigned and marketed by the Republic of South Africa and China. The team examined historical high temperature and high temperature gas reactors (HTR and HTGR) and reviewed safeguards considerations for this reactor. The following is a preliminary report on this topic prepared under the ASA-100 Advanced Safeguards Project in support of the NNSA Next Generation Safeguards Initiative (NGSI).

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  • Report No.: INL/EXT-09-16782
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-05ID14517
  • DOI: 10.2172/968683 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 968683
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc927707

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  • October 1, 2009

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  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Nov. 30, 2016, 1:26 p.m.

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Durst, Phillip Casey; Beddingfield, David; Boyer, Brian; Bean, Robert; Collins, Michael; Ehinger, Michael et al. Nuclear Safeguards Considerations For The Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR), report, October 1, 2009; [Idaho]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc927707/: accessed December 12, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.