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PBR Safety Revisited by GlobalData

VIEWS: 78 PAGES: 16

PBR Safety Revisited Summary Pebble bed reactors are attracting worldwide interest because of their high gas outlet temperatures, allowing applications beyond electricity generation. Germany has the most experience with the technology, and a detailed examination of that country’s PBR experience is therefore appropriate, especially because of a lack of other long-term experience. Germany has constructed and operated two PBRs. Scope - GlobalData viewpoints cover the latest key events or important developments in the nuclear energy industry and provide our in-depth analysis of issues and challenges. Viewpoints offer expert opinions and GlobalData’s views of various developments that have been taking place in the nuclear energy industry across the world. Reasons to buy - Develop business strategies with the help of specific insights from GlobalData on the key events happening in the nuclear energy industry. - Gain a strong understanding of the nuclear energy market and analyze the major trends in the global nuclear energy industry today - Identify opportunities and challenges with the help of our analysis of the latest news and deals in the nuclear energy industry - Increase future revenue and profitability with the help of information on latest operational, financial, and regulatory events

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									PBR Safety Revisited
Reference Code: GDNE0025VPT Publication Date: APR 2009

Nuclear Energy Viewpoint
© GlobalData. This brief is a licensed product and is not to be photocopied Source: www.nuclearetrack.com

GDNE0025VPT / Published APR 2009 Page 1

Table of Contents

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Table of Contents
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List of Figures..................................................................................................................................................... 3

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GlobalData Viewpoint ..................................................................................................4
Summary .............................................................................................................................................................. 4

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PBR Safety Revisited...................................................................................................5
AVR operational experience ........................................................................................................................... 5 The FZJ re-evaluation ....................................................................................................................................... 6 The consequences ............................................................................................................................................ 9 Overoptimism ................................................................................................................................................... 10 Conclusion......................................................................................................................................................... 12

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Appendix ....................................................................................................................13

4.1 Methodology ..................................................................................................................................................... 13 4.1.1 Coverage ..................................................................................................................................................... 13 4.1.2 Secondary Research ................................................................................................................................. 14 4.1.3 Primary Research ...................................................................................................................................... 14 4.1.4 Expert Panel Validation ............................................................................................................................. 15 4.2 4.3 4.4 Contact Us ......................................................................................................................................................... 15 About GlobalData............................................................................................................................................. 16 Disclaimer .......................................................................................................................................................... 16

Nuclear Energy Viewpoint
© GlobalData. This brief is a licensed product and is not to be photocopied Source: www.nuclearetrack.com

GDNE0025VPT / Published APR 2009 Page 2

Table of Contents

1.1
Figure 1:

List of Figures
GlobalData Methodology .............................................................................................................................................13

Nuclear Energy Viewpoint
© GlobalData. This brief is a licensed product and is not to be photocopied Source: www.nuclearetrack.com

GDNE0025VPT / Published APR 2009 Page 3

GlobalData Viewpoint

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GlobalData Viewpoint
Summary
The safety behaviour of pebble bed reactors (PBRs) may be less benign than earlier assumed. A new study from Forschungszentrum Jülich analysing experience with the AVR reactor suggests that future PBRs require additional safety measures, and that major R&D effort is still necessary.

Nuclear Energy Viewpoint
© GlobalData. This brief is a licensed product and is not to be photocopied Source: www.nuclearetrack.com

GDNE0025VPT / Published APR 2009 Page 4

GlobalData Viewpoint

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PBR Safety Revisited
Pebble bed reactors are attracting worldwide interest because of their high gas outlet temperatures, allowing applications beyond electricity generation. Germany has the most experience with the technology, and a detailed examination of that country’s PBR experience is therefore appropriate, especially because of a lack of other long-term experience. Germany has constructed and operated two PBRs. The Arbeitsgemeinschaft Versuchsreaktor (AVR), or Working Group Test Reactor (46MWt, 15MW), was operated over the period 1967-1988 at coolant (He) outlet temperatures up to 990°C, which are in principle suitable for process heat applications such as hydrogen generation by splitting water. Its availability (time basis) was 66%. After a construction time of 14 years, the Thorium-HTR THTR300 (750MWt, 300 MW), was operated from 1985 to 1989 at coolant exit temperatures of 750°C, but for a total of only 1.2 full power years (fpy). Over the period 1988-89 both German PBRs were taken out of operation. Mainly, it was safety concerns that led to the permanent AVR shutdown: lack of sufficient protection against external impact leading to an air ingress with a core fire, and a potential positive void coefficient of reactivity in water ingress events. The permanent shutdown of the THTR300 was caused by a couple of technical problems, which were partly pebble bed-specific and made its operation very complex and costly. No agreement had been reached between the German government and industry on compensation for the economic risks of further THTR300 operation. Because the interest in PBR development generally declined in Germany with the shutdown of the PBRs, associated R&D greatly reduced from 1989. Thus the operational experience of both German PBRs was not sufficiently evaluated. Nevertheless, several optimistic statements about the AVR operational experience have been communicated. Because of those statements, and in light of the increasing interest in PBRs, a study on the operational safety of the PBR prototype, the AVR reactor, was performed at FZJ and published in June 2008 [1]. An up
								
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