A new direction in PWR simplification
Le Ponteil, 05310 Champcella, France
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Received in final form: 29 October 2020
Accepted: 18 December 2020
Published online: 21 January 2021
A new approach to PWR simplification is presented, in which a compact Reactor Coolant System (RCS) configuration is introduced, particularly suited for a power level in the range of 600 MWe. Customary PWR primary system components are eliminated to achieve this RCS simplification. For example, RCS pressure control through a “self-pressurization” mode, with core exit at saturation temperature with less than 1% steam, allows elimination of a pressurizer. Also, mechanical control rods are replaced by reactivity control using negative moderator void and temperature coefficient together with variable speed primary pumps, and with an upgrade in the safety boration function. Decay heat removal in shutdown conditions is realized through the secondary side rather than through primary side equipment. The compact RCS can be installed in a small volume, high-pressure containment. The containment is divided into two leak-tight zones separated by a partition plate. Safety equipment installed in one of the two zones will be protected against adverse ambient conditions from leaks or breaks in the other zone. The partition facilitates management of coolant inventory within the RCS and the containment following RCS leaks or breaks. In particular, the safety injection system as commonly known, consisting of accumulators and multiple stages of injection pumps can be discarded and replaced by gravity-driven flooding tanks. Space available around major RCS components is adequate to avoid compromising accessibility during maintenance or in-service inspection operations. In addition, the two-zone, high-pressure containment provides extra margins in severe accident mitigation. Finally, the proposed containment has a much smaller size than customary large dry containments in PWR practice and it can be anticipated that Nuclear Island building size will similarly be reduced.
© N.M. Bonhomme, published by EDP Sciences, 2021
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