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Special Section Papers

Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor Technology: Its Relevance Today

[+] Author and Article Information
A. K. Nayak

Bhabha Atomic Research Centre,
Trombay, Mumbai 400085, India
e-mail: arunths@barc.gov.in

S. Banerjee

Bhabha Atomic Research Centre,
Trombay, Mumbai 400085, India
e-mail: sbanerjee@barc.gov.in

Manuscript received January 21, 2017; final manuscript received January 23, 2017; published online March 1, 2017. Editor: Igor Pioro.

ASME J of Nuclear Rad Sci 3(2), 020901 (Mar 01, 2017) (9 pages) Paper No: NERS-17-1006; doi: 10.1115/1.4035856 History: Received January 21, 2017; Revised January 23, 2017

The pressurized heavy water reactor (PHWR) technology was conceived in Canada and has moved to several nations for commercial production of electricity. Currently, 49 power reactors operate with PHWR technology producing nearly 25 GWe. The technology is flexible for adopting different fuel cycle options which include natural uranium, different mixed oxide (MOX) fuel, and thorium. The technology has made substantial improvement in materials, construction, and safety since its inception. PHWRs have demonstrated excellent performance historically. Their safety statistics are excellent. Indian PHWRs also have shown economic competitiveness even in small sizes, thus providing an ideal design for new entrants. While the technology features of PHWRs are available even in textbooks, the objective of this paper is to highlight the historical development and salient features, and innovations for further improvement in operation, safety and economics. Thus, this paper shall serve as a curtain raiser for the special issue “Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) Safety: Post Fukushima.”

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References

Figures

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Fig. 1

Picture of nuclear physicist, Wilfrid Bennett Lewis

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Fig. 2

Concept of Indian three-stage nuclear power program as originally envisaged on the basis of available uranium reserve to support a 10,000 MWe installed capacity in the first stage. In recent years, there is a significant rise in domestic uranium reserve and therefore the energy potential will be significantly higher. Stage 3 targets to produce large scale power from thorium in a near sustainable manner.

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Fig. 3

Sharing nuclear knowledge, Homi Jehangir Bhabha (left) and Wilfrid Bennett Lewis (right) (taken from slides presented by one of the authors at W. B. Lewis Memorial Lecture Pacific Basic Nuclear Conference, Vancouver, Canada, Aug. 25, 2014)

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Fig. 4

Technology transfer from Douglas Point, Canada to Rajasthan, India (taken from slides presented by one of the authors at W.B. Lewis Memorial Lecture Pacific Basic Nuclear Conference, Vancouver, Canada, Aug. 25, 2014)

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Fig. 5

Comparison of fissile utilization per ton of mined uranium in PHWR versus PWR (taken from slides presented by one of the authors at W. B. Lewis Memorial Lecture Pacific Basic Nuclear Conference, Vancouver, Canada, Aug. 25, 2014)

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Fig. 6

On-power bidirectional refueling arrangement in PHWRs

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Fig. 7

Schematic of flow path representation in PHWR—advantages of distributing the pressure boundary through multiple small size feeder pipes

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Fig. 8

Schematic of research and development activities for structural integrity of pipes in PHWRs for leak before break (LBB) (taken from slides presented by one of the authors at W. B. Lewis Memorial Lecture Pacific Basic Nuclear Conference, Vancouver, Canada, Aug. 25, 2014)

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Fig. 9

The presence of large water in calandria and calandria vault not only delays the accident progression, but also the calandria serves like core catcher

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Fig. 10

Irradiation behavior of thoria pins (taken from slides presented by one of the authors at W. B. Lewis Memorial Lecture Pacific Basic Nuclear Conference, Vancouver, Canada, Aug. 25, 2014)

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Fig. 11

Lesser fission gases released during irradiation of thoria pins (taken from slides presented by one of the authors at W. B. Lewis Memorial Lecture Pacific Basic Nuclear Conference, Vancouver, Canada, Aug. 25, 2014)

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