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Self-protection of Reactors


Research of Nuclear Safety and Inherent Safety of High-temperature Gas-cooled Modular Type Reactors (HTGR-M).

Tech Area / Field

  • FIR-REA/Reactor Concept/Fission Reactors
  • FIR-NSS/Nuclear Safety and Safeguarding/Fission Reactors

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Tocheny L V

Leading Institute
Kurchatov Research Center, Russia, Moscow


  • FRAMATOME, France, Paris La Défense\nGeneral Atomics, USA, CA, San Diego\nForschungszentrum Jülich / Institut fur Sicheritsforschung und Reactortechnik, Germany, Jülich\nFuji Electric, Japan, Kawasaki

Project summary

Brief description of the Project objectives, technical approach and expected results. The countries where the HTGR-M are being developed (USA, Germany, Russia, Japan, China) are greatly interested in studying problems of nuclear safety and inherent protection of the modular HTGR. Therefore studies of neutronic, thermal and dynamical characteristic of the reactor, fuel behavior, retainment (release) of fission products in accidental situations are urgent.

Of importance is the experimental determination of the temperature effects of the modular HTGRs and their inpidual components as they determine, to a significant degree, the safety of the HTGR being developed. At present there is only one test facility where experiments with heating the reactor full core only up to 200° C, central column up to 600° C are to be conducted in the world (Japan). The project proposed consists in the substantiation of the nuclear safety and inherent protection of the HTGR-M, basing on experiments carried out on the fuel assemblies of the test-facility ASTRA (RRC KI) in heating up to high temperatures (600° C) as well as on the basis of experiments on the critical test facility ROMB (VNIITF) and on the facility OSA (RRC KI).

The work involves development and improvement of computer codes for studying the nuclear safety and inherent protection of HTGR-M, working out a list of general programs and working programs of bench experiments; elaboration of technical documentation on modernization of test facilities and on accomplishment of modernization; performance of neutronic experiments within a wide temperature range on the test facilities ASTRA and ROMB; studies of FP retention in coated particles and HTGR-M fuel elements under accidental conditions; analysis of the data obtained.

These experiments and their theoretical analysis will allow the enhanced nuclear safety of the high-temperature reactors, currently under development in a number of countries (USA, Japan, Russia, China) to be substantiated.

It should be pointed out that now joint (USA, Russia) efforts on the development of a power plant with the modular HTGR with gas-turbine conversion of thermal energy to electricity are being made. Designing, construction and operation of this plant in Russia are planned to be conducted with the participation of the specialists earlier engaged in explosion development (Chelyabinsk-70, OKBM, RRC KI), jointly with General Atomics (USA). Therefore, this project will ensure alternative employment of scientists and engineers earlier dialing with weapon designing and manufacturing.

Results to be expected. In implementation of this project the data on the modular HTGR safety and inherent protection both for the nominal and accidental conditions will be obtained. That is, the programs of experiments will be developed and experimental studies carried out on the ASTRA, ROMB and OSA test facilities and basing on the results obtained- the calculation models for studying the HTGR-M safety and inherent protection such as neutronic, thermal and dynamic models, model of FP release from coated particles and fuel elements, fuel behavior model etc.

On the ASTRA test facility (RRC KI) the temperature coefficients of reactivity for the HTGR-M on heating the critical assembly within the temperature range from 20° C to 600° C will be obtained; the components of the temperature effect of reactivity of this critical assembly over the same temperature range (the temperature effect of the core, reflectors etc.) will be identified; the temperature dependence of the absorbing rod worth within the same temperature range; the calculation and experimental study of the inherent safety of these reactors relative to reactivity disturbances will be carried out, etc.

On the ROMB test facility (VNIITF) the characteristics of a number of "benchmark" critical assemblies will be obtained including the spectral characteristics of the neutron field. These data will permit the models and codes used in the HTGR-M calculations to be additionally corrected and verified.

On the OSA test facility (RRC KI) the FP behavior in the HTGR-M fuel elements will be studied for accidental conditions.

The verification of the calculation models developed will be carried out, and on their basis the HTGR-M safety will be analyzed taking into account the experimental data.


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