US and international applications for large onsite cogeneration (steam and power) systems are emerging as a near term market for the PBMR. The South African PBMR demonstration project applies a high temperature (900°C) Brayton cycle for high efficiency power generation. In addition, a number of new applications are being investigated using an intermediate temperature range (700–750°C) with a simplified heat supply system design. This intermediate helium delivery temperature supports conventional steam Rankine cycle designs at higher efficiencies than obtained from water type reactor systems. These designs can be adapted for cogeneration of steam, similar to the design of gas turbine cogeneration plants that supply steam and power at many industrial sites. This temperature range allows use of conventional or readily qualifiable materials and equipment, avoiding some cost premiums associated with more difficult operating conditions. As gas prices and CO2 values increase, the potential value of a small nuclear reactor with advanced safety characteristics increases dramatically. Because of its smaller scale, the 400–500MWt PBMR offers the economic advantages of onsite thermal integration (steam, hot water and desalination coproduction) and of providing onsite power at cost versus at retail industrial rates avoiding transmission and distribution costs. Advanced safety characteristics of the PBMR support the location of plants adjacent to steam users, district energy systems, desalination plants, and other large commercial and industrial facilities. Additional benefits include price stability, long term security of energy supply and substantial CO2 reductions. Target markets include existing sites using gas fired boilers and cogeneration units, new projects such as refinery and petrochemical expansions, and coal-to-liquids projects where steam and power represent major burdens on fuel use and CO2 emissions. Lead times associated with the nuclear licensing process may support early applications in the 2018–2020 timeframe. This paper summarizes the design options likely to shape these emerging steam and cogeneration applications.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.