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Argonne, KAERI developing prototype sodium-cooled fast nuclear reactor

The US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory is working with the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) to develop a Prototype Generation-IV Sodium-cooled Fast Reactor (PGSFR). KAERI’s Sodium-cooled Fast Reactor Development Agency has provided $6.78 million funding to date for Argonne’s contributions through a Work-for-Others contract.

A sodium-cooled fast reactor uses liquid sodium to transfer heat to a working fluid for power generation. The SFR is designed for management of high-level wastes and, in particular, management of plutonium and other actinides (the radioactive elements that lie between actinium and lawrencium on the periodic table, with atomic numbers 89 - 103). (Earlier post.)

The PGSFR is a 400 MWth, 150 MWe advanced sodium-cooled fast reactor that incorporates many innovative design features—in particular, metal fuel, which enables inherent safety characteristics.

Schematic of KAERI PGSFR. Click to enlarge.

PGSFR is designed to be safe against severe accidents incurred through earthquakes and tsunamis. The Decay Heat Removal System (DHRS)—a combination of passive and active decay heat removal systems—has a sufficient capacity to remove the decay heat in all design basis events without operator’s action by incorporating the principles of redundancy and independency. Double reactor vessels and double pipings in IHTS are designed for the prevention of sodium leakage. PGSFR has also a passive reactor shutdown system.

With Argonne support, KAERI is developing the reactor system while the Korean engineering and construction firm KEPCO E&C is designing the balance of the plant.

The PGSFR Project aims to secure the Korean licensing authority’s design approval by the end of 2020, and the schedule calls for PGSFR to be commissioned by the end of 2028.

The metal fuel technology base was developed at Argonne in the 1980s and ‘90s; its inherent safety potential was demonstrated in tests conducted on the Experimental Breeder Reactor-II in April 1986. These demonstrated the safe shutdown and cooling of the reactor without operator action following a simulated loss-of-cooling accident.

The Argonne-KAERI collaboration on PGSFR was established following the US Government authorization of the 10 CFR Part 810 request to transfer sodium-cooled fast reactor and low-enriched uranium fuel technology to the Republic of Korea.



What would be the total production cost per kWh? Would it be below 16 cents/kWh?


To be built in Korea. . . because the NIMBYs wont let it be built *here*.

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