Research underway on the advanced CANDU examines new, innovative, reactor concepts with the aim of significant cost reduction and resource sustainability through improved thermodynamic efficiency and plant simplification. The so-called CANDU-X concept retains the key elements of the current CANDU designs, including heavy-water moderator that provides a passive heat sink and horizontal pressure tubes. Improvement in thermodynamic efficiency is sought via substantial increases in both pressure and temperature of the reactor coolant. Following on from the new Next Generation (NG) CANDU, which is ready for markets in 2005 and beyond, the reactor coolant is chosen to be light water but at supercritical operating conditions. Two different temperature regimes are being studied, Mark 1 and Mark 2, based respectively on continued use of zirconium or on stainless-steel-based fuel cladding. Three distinct cycle options have been proposed for Mark 1: the High-Pressure Steam Generator (HPSG) cycle, the Dual cycle, and the Direct cycle. For Mark 2, the focus is on simplification via a Direct cycle. This paper presents comparative thermo-economic assessments of the CANDU-X cycle options, with the ultimate goal of ascertaining which particular cycle option is the best overall in terms of thermodynamics and economics. A similar assessment was already performed for the NG CANDU. The economic analyses entail obtaining cost estimates of major plant components, such as heat exchangers, turbines and pumps.

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