The next generation nuclear plant (NGNP), a very high temperature gas-cooled reactor (VHTR) concept, will provide the first demonstration of a closed-loop Brayton cycle at a commercial scale, producing a few hundred megawatts of power in the form of electricity and hydrogen. The power conversion unit for the NGNP will take advantage of the significantly higher reactor outlet temperatures of the VHTRs to provide higher efficiencies than can be achieved with the current generation of light water reactors. Besides demonstrating a system design that can be used directly for subsequent commercial deployment, the NGNP will demonstrate key technology elements that can be used in subsequent advanced power conversion systems for other Generation IV reactors. In anticipation of the design, development, and procurement of an advanced power conversion system for the NGNP, the system integration of the NGNP and hydrogen plant was initiated to identify the important design and technology options that must be considered in evaluating the performance of the proposed NGNP. As part of the system integration of the VHTRs and the hydrogen production plant, the intermediate heat exchanger is used to transfer the process heat from VHTRs to the hydrogen plant. Therefore, the design and configuration of the intermediate heat exchanger are very important. This paper describes analyses of one stage versus two-stage heat exchanger design configurations and simple stress analyses of a printed circuit heat exchanger (PCHE), helical-coil heat exchanger, and shell-and-tube heat exchanger.

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