This paper compared the performance of very high temperature reactor (VHTR) plants with direct and indirect closed Brayton Cycles (CBCs) and investigated the effect of the molecular weight of the CBC working fluid on the number of stages in and the size of the single shaft turbomachines. The CBC working fluids considered are helium (4 g/mole) and He-Xe and He-N2 binary mixtures (15 g/mole). Also investigated are the effects of using LPC and HPC with inter-cooling, cooling the reactor pressure vessel with He bled off at the exit of the compressor, and changing the reactor exit temperature from 700°C to 950°C on the plant thermal efficiency, CBC pressure ratio and the number of stages in and size of the turbo-machines. Analyses are performed for reactor thermal power of 600 MW, shaft rotation speed of 3000 rpm, and IHX temperature pinch of 50 °C.

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