Medium/Small-Scale Designs

Through the evolution of the 1970-1980s the approach was generally to build bigger and more sophisticated reactors (Mourogov et al., 1999; Anand, 1999). This approach was perceived to suffer from several disadvantages. The larger reactors were not suitable for developing countries with smaller grids. Also the increasing sophistication was not commensurate with reducing capital cost.

As a consequence, smaller and simpler designs were put forward, perhaps the best known was AP600 incorporating passive decay heat removal systems. This system has now been extended to larger scale AP1000, see above, but the approach was first introduced and verified on the lower rated AP600 design.

Another ‘approach’ to provide a flexible capability is to consider modular units, which can be designed, manufactured and assembled using production line processes and standardised procedures (Hatcher, 1999). The 100 MWe gas reactor pebble bed modular reactor (PBMR) is an example of this approach, introduced earlier in Chapter 2 and discussed in more detail later.


A wide range of advanced reactor types has been considered over recent years but many of these would require substantial investment and development. A set of the most promising reactor types has been put forward by the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) Member Countries. Design requirements for these systems are considered later in the book.

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