Steam-reheat option for supercritical-water-cooled reactors
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SuperCritical-Water-cooled Reactors (SCWRs) are being developed as one of the Generation-IV nuclear-reactor concepts. Main objectives of the development are to increase thermal efficiency of a Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) and to decrease capital and operational costs. The first objective can be achieved by introducing nuclear steam reheat inside a reactor and utilizing regenerative feedwater heaters. The second objective can be achieved by designing a steam cycle that closely matches that of the mature supercritical fossil-fuelled power plants. The feasibility of these objectives is discussed. As a part of this discussion, heat-transfer calculations have been performed and analyzed for SuperCritical-Water (SCW) and SuperHeated-Steam (SHS) channels of the proposed reactor concept. In the calculations a uniform and three non-uniform Axial Heat Flux Profiles (AHFPs) were considered for six different fuels (UO2, ThO2, MOX, UC2, UC, and UN) and at average and maximum channel power. Bulk-fluid, sheath, and fuel centerline temperatures as well as the Heat Transfer Coefficient (HTC) profiles were obtained along the fuel-channel length. The HTC values are within a range of 4.7 – 20 kW/m2⋅K and 9.7 – 10 kW/m2⋅K for the SCW and SHS channels respectively. The main conclusion is that while all the mentioned fuels may be used for the SHS channel, only UC2, UC, or UN are suitable for a SCW channel, because their fuel centerline temperatures are at least 1000°C below melting point, while that of UO2, ThO2, and MOX may reach melting point.