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. SuperCritical Water (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 an SCW NPP, to increase its reliability, and to achieve similar high thermal efficiencies as the advanced fossil-fired 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 this, they reach thermal steam-cycle efficiencies up to 54% (i.e., net plant efficiencies of up to 43–50% on a Higher Heating Value (HHV) basis). This paper presents several possible general layouts of SCW NPPs, which are based on a regenerative-steam cycle. To increase the thermal efficiency and to match current SC-turbine parameters, the cycle also includes a single steam-reheat stage. Since these options include a nuclear steam-reheat stage, the SCWR is based on a pressure-tube design.

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