Exploration of the Performance of Multiphase Nuclear-Fuel Cavity Reactors for Power Generation

by Benjamin Pinkel, Eugene C. Gritton

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Explores the feasibility of nuclear-fuel cavity reactors for the generation of electric power. The study investigates the potential operational regimes associated with operating a cavity reactor with the fuel in a solid, liquid, or gaseous state, or combinations of fuel state. Higher reactor power and longer continuous operational durations with continuous fission debris removal are indicated for fissile material in the liquid state, but two important problems limit the practicability of the system with all-liquid uranium film: (1) penetration of the container material by the uranium; and (2) excessive flow of liquid uranium along the walls, which leads to nonuniform heat distribution on the reactor wall. The effects of different combinations of fuel states are debated, and the possibility of using uranium 233 or plutonium 239 are briefly investigated.

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