Currently, there are a number of Generation IV SuperCritical Water-cooled nuclear Reactor (SCWR) concepts under development worldwide. The main objectives for developing and utilizing SCWRs are: 1) Increase gross thermal efficiency of current Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) from 30 – 35% to approximately 45 – 50%, and 2) Decrease capital and operational costs and, in doing so, decrease electrical-energy costs. SCW NPPs will have much higher operating parameters compared to current NPPs (i.e., steam pressures of about 25 MPa and steam outlet temperatures up to 625°C). Additionally, SCWRs will have a simplified flow circuit in which steam generators, steam dryers, steam separators, etc. will be eliminated. Furthermore, SCWRs operating at higher temperatures can facilitate an economical co-generation of hydrogen through thermo-chemical cycles (particularly, the copper-chlorine cycle) or direct high-temperature electrolysis. To decrease significantly the development costs of a SCW NPP, to increase its reliability, and to achieve similar high thermal efficiencies as the advanced fossil steam cycles it should be determined whether SCW NPPs can be designed with a steam-cycle arrangement that closely matches that of mature SuperCritical (SC) fossil-fired thermal power plants (including their SC-turbine technology). The state-of-the-art SC-steam cycles at fossil-fired power plants are designed with a single-steam reheat and regenerative feedwater heating. Due to that, they reach thermal steam-cycle efficiencies up to 54% (i.e., net plant efficiencies of up to 43% on a Higher Heating Value (HHV) Basis). This paper analyzes main parameters and performance in terms of thermal efficiency of a SCW NPP concept based on a direct regenerative steam cycle. To increase the thermal efficiency and to match current SC-turbine parameters, the cycle also includes a single steam-reheat stage. The cycle is comprised of: an SCWR, a SC turbine, which consists of one High-Pressure (HP) cylinder, one Intermediate-Pressure (IP) cylinder and two Low-Pressure (LP) cylinders, one deaerator, ten feedwater heaters, and pumps. Since this option includes a “nuclear” steam-reheat stage, the SCWR is based on a pressure-tube design. A thermal-performance simulation reveals that the overall thermal efficiency is approximately 50%.

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