Origin of Industrial Interest in MSBRs

For a number of years Ebasco Services Incorporated (Ebasco) has had an interest in advancing the technology of molten salt reactor systems as a natural consequence of its continuing search for promising ways in which to serve its principal client, the Utility Industry. This Industry, in its service to the public, constantly seeks to produce reliably, and at lowest cost, the energy needed in the domestic and industrial sectors of the economy. The desire to conserve and, if possible, extend the energy resources of the world to reduce the environmental impact of energy generation, and to present the lowest hazard to the public are also strong motivations among the electric power companies.

In the summer of 1969 Ebasco announced the formation of a Molten salt Group bringing together all major industrial capability needed to conceive, design, manufacture, and construct molten salt reactor systems for the utility industry and with utility companies participating financially. The utility participants are:

Dallas Power & Light Company Houston Lighting & Power Company Kansas Gas and Electric Company Middle South Services, Inc. Minnesota Power & Light Company Northeast Utilities Service Company Texas Electric Service Company Texas Power & Light Company Union Electric Company

  • Industrial participants in that group are:
  • Ebasco Services Incorporated – Management, technical direction, nuclear design, power plant technology.
  • Babcock & Wilcox – Reactor vessel, primary heat exchangers, general reactor technology, steam generators.
  • Continental OilCo.,Inc. – Chemical processing, chemical engineering.
  • Union Carbide – Graphite technology.
  • Cabot Corporation – Hastelloy-N, special metal alloys, materials technology.
  • Byron-Jackson – Fused salt pumps, general pump technology.

The industrial companies supplied senior technical personnel at their own expense to work as a team under the management and technical direction of Ebasco to evaluate Molten Salt Reactor Technology.

On September 30, 1970, Union Carbide Corporation, Nuclear Division, operators of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the USAEC, issued a request for a proposal for an independent Molten Salt Breeder Reactor Design Study. Ebasco and its group of industrial companies responded with a proposal which was accepted by the Union Carbide Corporation and the USAEC with Ebasco Services Incorporated as principal subcontractor to Union Carbide Corporation and with the Molten Salt Group members as sub-subcontractors to Ebasco. The official commencement date of this contract was March 8,1971, and is expected to run 30 months.


Project Organization

The Molten Salt 1000 MWe Breeder Reactor Conceptual Design Study is under the Corporate Cognizance, in Ebasco, of L.F. C. Reichle, Vice President – Nuclear. The Nuclear Division (Figure 1.1) is responsible for the MSBR design study. This study is under the technical direction of D. R. debisblanc, Ebasco’s Chief Nuclear Consulting Engineer and Manager of Research and Development. Figure 1.2 shows the organization including the sub-subcon tractors.

The organization chart (Figure 1.2) shows five major divisions: Systems and Components, Technical, Reactor Engineering, Plant Design, and Instrumentation and Control. The Systems and Components Group is responsible for the conceptual design work on the major functional components such as heat exchangers, reactor vessel, pumps, etc., in the primary salt system and also for the development of the flow sheets and conceptual design detail for the various subsystems.

The Technical Group provides the special consulting and conceptual input in the areas of physics, chemistry, metallurgy, and graphite technology.

The Reactor Engineering Group is responsible for the overall nuclear engineering design of the reactor including the reactor physics, thermal-hydraulics and the specifications of the geometry of the graphite structures.

The Plant Design Group brings in the traditional power plant design disciplines of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, concrete-hydraulics engineering, architectural and structural engineering and estimating.

The Instrumentation and Control Group will be responsible for the conceptual design of all instrumentation systems for the reactor and process systems in the plant. These groups report to the Project Manager who in turn reports to the Technical Director.

Permission was obtained from the utility sponsors of the Molten Salt Group for a continued activity of this Group until utility funds were expended. In addition, the Technical Representatives of the industrial members of the group serve as an informal advisory panel from time to time during the course of the design study. The availability of this additional MSR effort within Ebasco and this advisory panel greatly enhances the overall management and technical direction of the project so as to maintain it within a commercial framework which is one of the main goals of the design study.

The sub-subcontractors participating in the design study with Ebasco provide design effort for a substantial portion of the overall MSBR Plant. Babcock & Wilcox provides the design of heat exchangers, steam generators, and the reactor vessel. Babcock & Wilcox has been active in the atomic energy business supplying these components to the Atomic Energy Commission and to the Nuclear Navy since 1944 when they manufactured equipment for the Manhattan Project. In addition, the company is currently designing and fabricating 13 nuclear steam supply systems for the nuclear industry.

Continental Oil Company, Incorporated is engaged in the design of the fuel salt chemical processing system. CONOCO is among the world’s ten largest energy’companies selling over $2.5 billion worth of goods every year. CONOCO is involved in all forms of the energy business; petroleum, coal, nuclear, chemical, and plant foods.

Satellite Division, Cabot Corporation, provides assistance in the design of advance Hastelloy materials. Cabot Corporation is a diversified producer of performance chemicals, energy, and engineered products. Its Stellite Division produces many types of high quality alloys developed to resist different conditions of wear, heat, and corrosion. They maintain a staff of fully qualified chemical and metallurgical engineers.

Union Carbide Corporation, Carbon Products Division, provides assistance in the design of graphite core structures and other graphite components. The Carbon Products Division has a 75-year background in the manufacture of carbon, graphite, and related ceramic, metal, and composite materials products. Carbon Products Division is the only producer in the industry fabricating all varieties of carbon and graphite products. Its production plants are supported by a completely integral technical center at Parma, Ohio.

Byron-Jackson, Division of Borg-Warner, provides assistance in the design of salt-circulating pumps. Byron-Jackson is the leader in supplying pumps for the LMFBR Sodium Reactor Program, and a leader in supplying pumps to the water-cooled nuclear industry. Byron-Jackson conducts research on pump technology.




Task 1 had three main purposes:

    • to generate the bases for selection of an MSBR reference concept,
    • to develop an MSBR plant concept from these bases and the criteria specified in the contract,
    • to identify other concepts meriting further study.

The reference concept developed in this study is one which the industrial team can recommend to utilities for future construction. The plant should be licensable and operable on a utility system with safe, economic, and reliable performance. Thisconcept assumes accepting advances in technology anticipated over the next fifteen years.

2.2 Scope
Emphasis of this study was limited to:

  • systems or components vital to MSBR success even though their cost may not be significant, and
  • systems or components having high cost even though technical feasibility may be reasonably well assured.

Based on these considerations,efforts were limited to the primary system (including reactor and vessel), secondary system, steam system, off-gas system, fuel-salt drain tank system, building and general arrangements, and design of a chemical process plant basedon the O W L flow sheet.

Several graphite element designs and methods of replacement were examined. Several reactor vessel concepts were examined in some detail. Several primary system piping arrangements were laid out and stress analyzed. Several component arrangements were examined. Design concepts for steam generators, reheaters, and primary heat exchangers were developed. A supercritical steam system with 700 F feedwater was analyzed and designed. A layout of buildings and structures was developed and seismically evaluated. The performance criteria of the off-gas system were reexamined. An alternate concept was proposed, and an engineering design of the ORNL concept was developed. The electrical distribution system was analyzed. Several fuelsalt drain tank systems were explored.




Dec 4, 2014   3673   egeneration    Feasibility And Concept Studies
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