Design of an alternative coolant Inlet flow configuration for the modular helium reactor Conference Paper uri icon


  • The coolant outlet temperature for the Modular Helium Reactor (MHR) was increased to improve the overall efficiency of nuclear hydrogen production using either thermochemical or high temperature electrolysis (HTE) processes. The inlet temperature was also increased to keep about the same AT across the reactor core. Thermal hydraulic analyses of the current MHR design were performed with these updated temperatures to determine the impact of these higher temperatures on pressure drops, coolant flow rates, and temperature profiles within the vessel and core regions. Due to these increased operating temperatures, the overall efficiency of hydrogen production processes increases but the steady state reactor vessel temperature is found to be well above the ASME code limits for current vessel materials. Using the RELAP5-3D/ATHENA computer code, an alternative configuration for the MHR coolant inlet flow path was evaluated in an attempt to reduce the reactor vessel temperatures. The coolant inlet flow was shifted from channel boxes located in the annular region between the reactor core barrel and the inner wall of the reactor vessel to a flow path through the outer permanent reflector. Considering the available thickness of graphite in the permanent outer reflector, the total flow area, the number of coolant holes, and the coolant-hole diameter were varied to optimize the pressure drop, the coolant inlet velocity, and the percentage of graphite removed from the core. The resulting thermal hydraulic analyses of the optimized design showed that peak vessel and fuel temperatures were within acceptable design limits for both steady-state and transient operating conditions.

published proceedings

  • Proceedings of the 2006 International Congress on Advances in Nuclear Power Plants, ICAPP'06

author list (cited authors)

  • Reza, S., Harvego, E. A., Richards, M., Shenoy, A., & Peddicord, K. L.

complete list of authors

  • Reza, SMM||Harvego, EA||Richards, M||Shenoy, A||Peddicord, KL

publication date

  • December 2006