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Very High Temperature Reactor (VHTR) Survey of Materials Research and Development Needs to Support Early Deployment

Description: The VHTR reference concept is a helium-cooled, graphite moderated, thermal neutron spectrum reactor with an outlet temperature of 1000 C or higher. It is expected that the VHTR will be purchased in the future as either an electricity producing plant with a direct cycle gas turbine or a hydrogen producing (or other process heat application) plant. The process heat version of the VHTR will require that an intermediate heat exchanger (IHX) and primary gas circulator be located in an adjoining power conversion vessel. A third VHTR mission - actinide burning - can be accomplished with either the hydrogen-production or gas turbine designs. The first ''demonstration'' VHTR will produce both electricity and hydrogen using the IHX to transfer the heat to either a hydrogen production plant or the gas turbine. The plant size, reactor thermal power, and core configuration will be designed to assure passive decay heat removal without fuel damage during accidents. The fuel cycle will be a once-through very high burnup low-enriched uranium fuel cycle. The purpose of this report is to identify the materials research and development needs for the VHTR. To do this, we focused on the plant design described in Section 2, which is similar to the GT-MHR plant design (850 C core outlet temperature). For system or component designs that present significant material challenges (or far greater expense) there may be some viable design alternatives or options that can reduce development needs or allow use of available (cheaper) materials. Nevertheless, we were not able to assess those alternatives in the time allotted for this report and, to move forward with this material research and development assessment, the authors of this report felt that it was necessary to use a GT-MHR type design as the baseline design.
Date: January 1, 2003
Creator: Shaber, Eric; Baccaglini, G.; Ball, S.; Burchell, T.; Corwin, B.; Fewell, T. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department