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1985 to review and comment on the Office of Nuclear Energy's draft Strategic Plan for Civilian Reactor Development. The essence of the draft Strategic Plan is to establish an agenda of requisite actions and tasks to develop advanced reactor systems
that can be acceptable and competitive in a future market. While
the pace of the program to fulfill that agenda must be adjusted to accommodate national priorities and funding constraints, it is the Department's intent to continue to operate our unique liquid
metal reactor test facilities and to conduct the R&D leading to
licensing and potential commercial deployment of advanced reactor
systems at an appropriate time in the future.
Strategic Plan, based on consideration of comments received from
the ERAB Panel, Congress, and others, will be valuable in guiding and focusing DOE's reactor development programs, in helping assure complementary efforts by the private and public sectors, and in maintaining goals and objectives to ensure effective utilization of public funds.
In FY 1986 work will continue on the development of LMR and HTGR
designs and their supporting R&D activities. These designs emphasize competitive economics, greater reliance on passive safety, increased tolerance to off-normal events, improved
licensability, and shorter construction times.
reactor systems program is aimed at providing alternative means
of economic electricity production in the future, including the
use of breeder reactors when the market so dictates. Advanced
plant design activities are placing emphasis on refining system concepts and plant arrangements. Evaluations are being conducted to enhance the ability of these designs to meet these objectives. FY 1987 will see a further focusing of our effort on key economic and safety aspects of these designs.
Reviews of the advanced designs and licensing interactions have been conducted by NRC, and responses have been received regarding the innovative safety approach adopted for these designs. Safety analyses are being prepared for both the HTGR and LMR designs and will be submitted to the NRC by the end of FY 1986 to support the preparation and issuance of a Preliminary Safety Information Document, which will be the basis for a formal opinion by NRC
R&D support is being conducted in the areas of long life metal and oxide fuels, materials, advanced component development,
development of passively safe reactor shutdown and heat removal
systems, advanced plant control systems, inherently safe core designs, and core modification to meet specific program needs. Test support at our facilities is being provided in the areas of long-life core development, inherent safety testing, seismic response, thermal/hydraulic analysis, and system transients.
The advanced reactor program for FY 1987 and beyond builds on the substantial progress made by advanced reactor technology and design R&D over the years. The most important elements of the existing program, including some international activities, are
retained, while a portion of the technical capability of the
laboratories and test facilities is made available for use in pressing near-term space and defense applications. Safety systems design, advanced fuel cycle concepts, and plant
technology R&D are important elements.
Passive safety features are being incorporated into the advanced reactor designs and will reflect advances being made in fuels and core designs. This will significantly reduce the likelihood and consequences of plant failures. Key related activities will be the completion of transient tests in the Fast Flux Test Facility (FFTF) and transient overpower tests in the Experimental Breeder Reactor II (EBR-II). The safety systems design activity
incorporates the integration of state-of-the-art technology in
communications, controls, and operations into advanced reactor designs. Work next year will include development of man/machine interface criteria and testing methodology for civilian power, space and defense reactor needs. The advanced fuel cycle activities will continue the progress made towards the objective of extending core life to at least 3 years. The potential exists to achieve much longer core lifetimes with attendant economic benefits. Metal fuels work will be directed to establishing technical feasibility and potential to improve safety margins, fuel cycle costs, and improved proliferation resistance.
The plant technology efforts are focused on supporting the design of a standardized, modular plant that can be shop fabricated. Studies of advanced concepts have shown that standardization can eliminate up to 80 percent of indirect engineering costs. Modularity and shop fabrication are expected to provide labor cost savings. The FY 1987 R&D program will include activities in the areas of seismic/shock testing, fuel performance testing, passive decay heat removal, core thermal-hydraulic testing, circulator/pump development, and plant and rod control systems and materials.
Cooperative testing, design, and analytical programs on the
breeder and other reactors with European nations and Japan are
being continued, including private sector interactions, in the
areas where the applications of results serve our prospective
advanced commercial reactor needs.
The advanced civilian reactor development program has embarked on
a course destined to develop advanced nuclear systems that meet
market demands. Our rate of progress on that course must be tempered by fiscal constraint. However, we have made important progress and our resolve to meet our objectives is undiminished.
SPACE AND DEFENSE NUCLEAR POWER SYSTEMS
The Space and Defense Power Systems program is structured to respond to requirements identified by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Department of Defense (DOD), including the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization (SDIO). Program activities will provide the design, development and supporting technology for building compact, high performance
reactors for space and terrestrial applications and dynamic
isotope power systems for space application. This work is
divided into the SP-100 Space Reactor Project, the Multimegawatt Space Nuclear Power Program, the Dynamic Isotope Power System (DIPS), the Small Nuclear Power Source (SNPS) Demonstration Project, and the Multimegawatt (MMW) Terrestrial Nuclear Power Program. A discussion of each follows.
SP-100 SPACE REACTOR PROJECT
The SP-100 Program was initiated in February 1983, when DOE, NASA, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) formally agreed to jointly investigate, fund, and--if warranted-develop Space Reactor Power System Technology. The SP-100 Program is a three-phase effort.
Phase I (Technology Assessment and Advancement, FY 1983-1985) involved the investigation of concepts, the assessment and advancement of critical technologies, the establishment of technical and safety feasibility, and the selection of one power system concept for further engineering development and ground demonstration testing at a selected DOE test site during Phase II. This phase was successfully completed in FY 1985.
Phase II (Technology Flight Readiness, FY 1986-1991) involves civil and military mission analysis and requirements definition; detailed design, engineering development, and ground testing of
the selected power system concept to demonstrate its safety, performance, dependability, and readiness for dedicated flight
use; and pursuit of even more advanced aerospace technology which
could further enhance an SP-100 system in the longer term.
Phase III (Flight System Production, Qualification, and Flight Demonstration/Application, approximately FY 1991-1993) will involve flight system fabrication; ground-based flight qualification testing; spacecraft and launch vehicle integration; launch; and actual space flight demonstration/application.
Phase I efforts culminated with the selection of a concept for further engineering development and demonstration testing during Phase II. The selected concept employs a compact, liquid metal cooled, fast-spectrum reactor with out-of-core thermoelectric power conversion. It will be designed, built, and tested at a reference power of 300 kilowatts electric (kwe). In November 1985, DOE selected the Hanford, Washington, facility as the preferred site at which to conduct the reactor ground
A Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued in November 1985 to secure a system development contractor from industry by September 1986. That contractor will be responsible for designing, fabricating, and directing the ground testing of a prototype space reactor and other key subsystems. This effort will involve analysis and testing sufficient to demonstrate system performance, safety, dependability, and flight readiness. As an option, this effort additionally includes the provision to produce flight units and provide all the support necessary to expedite a flight program when the initial user comunitment is finalized.
Programmatically, a Memorandum of Agreement to establish, manage,
and implement the Phase II technology flight readiness program