Development of design and simulation model and safety study of large-scale hydrogen production using nuclear power Conference Paper uri icon


  • We are conducting research for the design of a large-scale hydrogen production plant, and to demonstrate its economic viability and safe operation. The work includes design of the nuclear and chemical component, and development of computational models for the nuclear reactor and the chemical plant plus the coupling of these models. The simulation model will analyze the three most promising high temperature cycles, namely the sulfur-iodine (SI) cycle, the calcium bromide-iron oxide cycle, and the Westinghouse cycle. The effects of various reaction temperatures on overall efficiency and hydrogen production will be investigated. Additionally, various ranges of flow rates for both the reaction gases and the heat transfer fluid will be combined with heat exchanger parameters to calculate heat transfer coefficients and assist in designing heat exchangers for the processes in the reactions. The SI-cycle, in particular, has shown high potential for large-scale hydrogen production. In order to provide a large power source for the SI-cycle, a nuclear plant capable of producing steam up to 850 C will be considered. The reactor design study will evaluate high temperature gas-cooled and molten salt reactor designs, and select the optimal design for producing high temperatures in order to maximize hydrogen production on a massive scale. The options in the design include the reactor core design, thermal hydraulics, and safety. Simulation models will be developed for the SI-cycle and for the coupled plant analysis. The latter will be based on the MELCOR code and will be coupled to the simulation model for SI plant performance. MELCOR has a strong, worldwide reputation as a premiere safety analysis tool for nuclear reactors. This research will result in the first fully integrated, fully coupled code that can be used to simulate the entire nuclear and thermochemical plant, maximize hydrogen production, and evaluate the potential for safe operation under normal and abnormal conditions. It can also be used to address scalability, hydrogen production cost, and design optimization.

author list (cited authors)

  • Rodríguez, S. B., Gauntt, R. O., Cole, R., Modesto, M., Gelbard, F., Malczynski, L., ... Archuleta, L.

publication date

  • December 2005