CEA Views as Regards Supercritical CO2 Cycle Development Priorities & Related R&D Approach

by N. Alpy, D. Haubensack, M. Saez, G. Rodriguez, N. Simon, L. Gicquel, & C. Latgé
French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA)

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Within the international R&D framework for next generation nuclear reactors (GEN IV), supercritical CO2 cycle is viewed as an attractive alternative to classical steam or ideal gas-like cycles to perform power conversion. Dedicated programs are therefore under progress in lead R&D organizations for nuclear energy, among which French CEA, to assess potential and feasibility of this specific cycle for Sodium cooled Fast Reactors (SFR).

As an introduction, milestones of the French SFR roadmap - which pays close attention and integrates international advances completed in this field within the frame of the GEN IV CD&BOP Sodium Fast Reactor Project Management Board - will be briefly reported. First part of the presentation will then address CEA views as regards S-CO2 cycle R&D challenges to be taken up so that confidence would be gained for a subsequent sustainable R&D effort. Some highlights from a first comparison exercise between different power conversion systems will be reported, in particular as regards advanced Rankine cycle which benefits from an early promotion due to its short term applicability. S-CO2 cycle issues will be consistently reminded such as efficiency targets for thermodynamic cycle and components, demonstration for cycle stability controls, plant investment savings, knowledge and mitigation masters for chemical interaction. Second part of the presentation will be dedicated to CEA R&D approach which combines an ongoing experimental program as regards Na/CO2 chemistry and CO2 material compatibility topics, with a simulation program as regards the power conversion system operations issue. Main outlines and expected outcomes of both points will be given. They are parts of the initiated 2009-2011 collaboration with US DOE (integrated to the CD&BOP SFR PMB), the Plant Dynamic Code of which has been identified as a reference tool for cycle simulation by CEA.