Description: The Solid State Reactor (SSR) is an advanced reactor concept designed to take advantage of Oak Ridge National Laboratory's (ORNL's) recently developed graphite foam that has enhanced heat transfer characteristics and excellent high-temperature mechanical properties, to provide an inherently safe, self-regulated, source of heat for power and other potential applications. This work was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Nuclear Energy Research Initiative (NERI) program (Project No. 99-064) from August 1999 through September 30, 2002. The initial concept of utilizing the graphite foam as a basis for developing an advanced reactor concept envisioned that a suite of reactor configurations and power levels could be developed for several different applications. The initial focus was looking at the reactor as a heat source that was scalable, independent of any heat removal/power conversion process. These applications might include conventional power generation, isotope production and destruction (actinides), and hydrogen production. Having conducted the initial research on the graphite foam and having performed the scoping parametric analyses from neutronics and thermal-hydraulic perspectives, it was necessary to focus on a particular application that would (1) demonstrate the viability of the overall concept and (2) require a reasonably structured design analysis process that would synthesize those important parameters that influence the concept the most as part of a feasible, working reactor system. Thus, the application targeted for this concept was supplying power for remote/harsh environments and a design that was easily deployable, simplistic from an operational standpoint, and utilized the new graphite foam. Specifically, a 500-kW(t) reactor concept was pursued that is naturally load following, inherently safe, optimized via neutronic studies to achieve near-zero reactivity change with burnup, and proliferation resistant. These four major areas of research were undertaken: (1) establishing the design and safety-related basis via neutronic and reactor control assessments with the graphite foam ...
Date: March 10, 2004
Creator: Mays, G.T.
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