The revolutionary approach of designing
the reactor as a variable temperature heat source
, has introduced important simplifications that greatly enhance safety. Nucleanova claims that this reactor complies with all the NRC requisites GenerationV+.
The reactor has been designed tooperate with load-following capability and without refuelling or repairs (just as the nuclear submarines) for
10 years at an average power of 10 Mwe.
The heat transfer from the reactor core to the top heat source plate is performed by natural convection, thus eliminating the need for external pumps and the corresponding penetrating tubes into the container.
The conspicuously absent heat exchangers have been replaced by external heat sinks interconnected by means of high-performance controllable heat pipes which are controlled by means of
heat switches, a new feature innovated by Nucleanova. This innovation permits to eliminate many of the corrosion and radioactive water leakage from the reactor making it amenable to design it as a sealed high-pressure container
The reactor is functionally sealed, but if in need of unpredictable service, it has been provided with removable high temperature inspection ports.
In case of a major remotely unforeseeable overhaul of the reactor, the heat source plate/cover can belifted and any of the internal appurtenances serviced if required after removal of the internal radioactive water, which can be poured back into the container once service is completed.
In this manner, no nuclear foot-print is left on site after all servicing equipment has been decontaminated.
This simplifies considerable the design certification phase.
When the reactor is stopped, the heat decay still heats the source plate but at a considerably reduced rate. The plate temperature is controlled by a heat sink and heat pipe assembly that is passively connected to the plate by a heat switch when power is off. This assembly conducts the heat to a section the free air convection structure (forced convection is inhibited as the power is turned off).
The air convection cooling structures are designed to sustain winds of 50 knots but they can be retracted to offer a low profile when the winds exceed these values, as the cooling is then enhanced by the wind.
In this manner, the battery can be installed in remote areas where there is no water or power, as the reactor is cooled by air. If near water, the cooling arrangement can be implemented if so desired by conventional water cooling.
The silo is made of impermeable concrete built on stabilized soil at a selected site. The silo has at its top a slide door to allow access for inspection of the reactor, which rests on the bottom by means of a seismic adaptor.
In the extreme case of reactor leakage, the radioactive water is confined within the silo and spread of contamination if arrested. If flood or rain-water seeps inside the silo, it can be dried out by service pumping.
As for the maintenance and service of the whole battery, Nucleanova will follow the recommendations developed along many years by the respected EPRI organization for power plants.
The installation site for the battery can be selected in the area based on the specific characteristics of local climate, topography, and other factors that may relate to the safe operation of the plant.
The only transmission lines are those from the battery to the service area which will be short layout, easy to maintain and therefore, highly reliable.
All said, the installation can overcome floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, and terrorism (surveillance from local and remote cameras and instrumentation).