Advanced Reactor Design

7.1. INTRODUCTION/OBJECTIVES

This chapter describes advanced reactor design requirements and the status of international activities. The assumption is made that nuclear power will continue to provide a reliable and sustainable energy source, while complementing that produced from other technologies, e. g. fossil fuel, renewables, etc. It discusses general design objectives, primarily from a utility and vendor requirements perspective. Advanced reactors are often classified into two categories namely, ‘evolutionary’ and ‘innovative’. In this context ‘evolutionary reactor’ refers to the class of reactors with relatively small modifications from existing designs. By contrast, ‘innovative reactors’ incorporate substantially new designs, which would require significant investment to develop. Potential regulator requirements for advanced plants are considered in the next chapter.

The primary raison d’etre behind the design of current generation plants was that they should be able to provide a reliable and safe base-load electricity supply. The same requirement holds true today but with increased emphasis on economic viability, increased safety characteristics and improved public acceptance. These considerations are paramount in advanced reactor design specification. The main focus of this chapter is to describe international developments in design philosophy in advanced evolutionary reactors. The characteristics of a number of more innovative advanced reactor designs that are being proposed, including design requirements, are considered in more detail in the subsequent chapters.

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