Research Papers

Analyses of the Load Following Capabilities of Brayton Helium Gas Turbine Cycles for Generation IV Nuclear Power Plants

[+] Author and Article Information
A. Gad-Briggs

Gas Turbine Engineering Group,
Cranfield University,
Cranfield MK43 0AL, Bedfordshire, UK
e-mail: a.a.gadbriggs@cranfield.ac.uk

P. Pilidis

Gas Turbine Engineering Group,
Cranfield University,
Cranfield MK43 0AL, Bedfordshire, UK
e-mail: p.pilidis@cranfield.ac.uk

T. Nikolaidis

Gas Turbine Engineering Group,
Cranfield University,
Cranfield MK43 0AL, Bedfordshire, UK
e-mail: t.nikolaidis@cranfield.ac.uk

Manuscript received January 9, 2017; final manuscript received May 24, 2017; published online July 31, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Ralph Hill.

ASME J of Nuclear Rad Sci 3(4), 041017 (Jul 31, 2017) (8 pages) Paper No: NERS-17-1003; doi: 10.1115/1.4036983 History: Received January 09, 2017; Revised May 24, 2017

The control system for generation IV nuclear power plant (NPP) design must ensure load variation when changes to critical parameters affect grid demand, plant efficiency, and component integrity. The objective of this study is to assess the load following capabilities of cycles when inventory pressure control is utilized. Cycles of interest are simple cycle recuperated (SCR), intercooled cycle recuperated (ICR), and intercooled cycle without recuperation (IC). First, part power performance of the IC is compared to results of the SCR and ICR. Subsequently, the load following capabilities are assessed when the cycle inlet temperatures are varied. This was carried out using a tool designed for this study. Results show that the IC takes ∼2.7% longer than the ICR to reduce the power output to 50% when operating in design point (DP) for similar valve flows, which correlates to the volumetric increase for the IC inventory storage tank. However, the ability of the IC to match the ICR's load following capabilities is severely hindered because the IC is most susceptible to temperature variation. Furthermore, the IC takes longer than the SCR and ICR to regulate the reactor power by a factor of 51 but this is severely reduced, when regulating NPP power output. However, the IC is the only cycle that does not compromise reactor integrity and cycle efficiency when regulating the power. The analyses intend to aid the development of cycles specifically gas-cooled fast reactors (GFRs) and very high temperature reactors (VHTRs), where helium is the coolant.

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Fig. 1

Typical simple cycle with recuperator (SCR) [5]

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Fig. 2

Typical intercooled cycle with recuperator (ICR) [6]

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Fig. 3

Typical intercooled cycle without recuperator

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Fig. 4

Simple cycle with recuperator (SCR) with inventory pressure control schematic

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Fig. 5

Part power performance—(T1) @ (DP)

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Fig. 6

Part power versus efficiency curves

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Fig. 7

Transient performance of SCR & ICR

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Fig. 8

Transient performance of SCR, ICR & IC

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Fig. 9

Transient performance values (Graph)

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Fig. 10

Cumulative transient performance of SCR, ICR & IC when T1 is varied (NPP power output)

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Fig. 11

Transient performance values per 5 °C increments (NPP power output)




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