In Germany two HTR nuclear power plants had been built and operated, the AVR-15 and the THTR-300. Also various projects for different purposes in a large power range had been developed. The AVR-15, an experimental reactor with a power output of 15 MWel was operated for more than 20 years with excellent results. The THTR-300 was designed as a prototype demonstration plant with 300 MWel and should be the technological basis for the entire future reactor line. The THTR-300 was prematurely shut down and decommissioned because of political reasons. But because of the accompanying comprehensive R&D program and the operation time of about 5 years, the technology was proved and essential operational results were gained. The AVR steam generator was installed above the reactor core. The six THTR heat exchangers were arranged circularly around the reactor core. Both heat exchanger systems have been operated successfully and furthermore acted as a residual heat removal system. The technology knowledge and experience gained on these existing HTR plants is still available at Westinghouse Electric Germany GmbH since Westinghouse is one of the legal successors of the former German HTR companies. As a follow-up project of THTR, the HTR-500 was developed and designed up to the manufacturing stage. For this plant additionally to the 8 steam generators, two residual heat removal heat exchangers were foreseen. These were to be installed in a ring around the reactor core. All these HTRs were designed for the generation of electricity using a steam cycle. Extensive research work has also been done for advanced applications of HTR technology e.g. using a direct cycle within the HHT project or generating process heat within the framework of the PNP project. Because of the critical attitude of the German government to the nuclear power in the past 20 years in Germany there was only a very limited interest in the further development of the HTR technology. As a consequence of the German decision, at the beginning of the 90s, to phase out nuclear power completely, research and funding of further development of HTR reactor design was also cut down. Today’s HTR reactor designs, such as the PBMR in South Africa, use a direct cycle with a gas turbine. This technology is also based on the THTR technology and PBMR is a licensed party. For the HTR-PM in China and the future oil sand projects powered by HTR’s in Canada and Siberia however the use of steam generators is required. Westinghouse and Dresden University cooperate in the field of steam generator technology for HTR reactors. The existing know-how for HTR is based on a huge pool of knowledge gained by the past German HTR projects mentioned above and consists especially of the design methodology, the mechanical layout and material issues for helium heated steam generators. The project team consists of experienced specialists who have worked on HTR projects in the past and of young graduate engineers. Main goal of the project is to analyze the existing know-how and to adjust it to the state of the art. As a first step, the existing design and its methodology is being analyzed and the different points of improvement are identified. The final step of the program is the description of a new methodology which fulfills the severe requirements of the customer and all of the actual licensing conditions. One of the reasons why this project has been launched is that the requirements of life expectancy for HTR components increase and the material limits will be reached, especially at high temperatures. This implies that the design of helix heat exchangers has to allow inservice inspections; this was not a requirement for the previous THTR design. Methodologies for in-service inspections already had been developed, but they are not sufficient for today’s tube lengths and have to be adapted. Another example, based on operating experience, is using reheaters to increase the efficiency is not recommended today. Using supercritical steam conditions to increase the efficiency should be investigated instead. In general, the economic benefit has to be balanced against the additional costs resulting from better material and more complex manufacturing.
State of the Art of Helium Heat Exchanger Development for Future HTR-Projects
- Views Icon Views
- Share Icon Share
- Search Site
Esch, M, Ju¨rgens, B, Hurtado, A, Knoche, D, & Tietsch, W. "State of the Art of Helium Heat Exchanger Development for Future HTR-Projects." Proceedings of the Fourth International Topical Meeting on High Temperature Reactor Technology. Fourth International Topical Meeting on High Temperature Reactor Technology, Volume 2. Washington, DC, USA. September 28–October 1, 2008. pp. 35-42. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/HTR2008-58146
Download citation file: