2023 journal article

Design, Modeling, and Analysis of a Compact-External Electromagnetic Pumping System for Pool-Type Liquid Metal-Cooled Fast Reactors

Annals of Nuclear Energy.

Source: ORCID
Added: July 19, 2023

Current pool-type Liquid Metal-Cooled Fast Reactors (LMCFRs), either under development or operational, immerse main reactor components in the primary coolant, (i.e. sodium), that includes heat exchangers, shielding structures, and pumping systems. Proposed main pumping systems, for some reactors that are under development, use electromagnetic pumps (EMPs) for primary coolant circulation. Annular linear induction pumps (ALIPs) are the preferred type since they are known for their advantages over mechanical centrifugal pumps (MCPs) when used to circulate liquid metals. This is due to ALIPs’ absence of moving parts such as shafts and impellers, seals and bearings, auxiliary lubrication systems, and simplicity of flow and pressure control mechanism. The immersion of reactor components in the primary sodium in the reactor vessel minimizes the likelihood of radioactive coolant leakage and loss of coolant accidents. However, since there is only one access point to reactor components, the immersion of ALIPs prevents additional potential advantages. Online pump inspection and replacement, reduction of negative effects on pump components due to the high temperature and radiation environment, an additional heat removal mechanism for self-cooled ALIPs, and simple decommissioning procedures are some possible advantages. This paper discusses a study conducted to investigate the possibility of using large EMPs, ALIP type, that are located outside the reactor vessel and connected in parallel, instead of in vessel sodium immersed ones for pool-type LMCFRs. The large, outside-vessel EMP idea is tested on a liquid metal-cooled test reactor design using an experimentally validated multiphysics finite element analysis tool. Specifically, the steady state reactor’s primary circuit cooling and pressure requirements are used to design two, in-vessel ALIPs and then two outside-vessel ALIPs. The two pumping systems are compared in terms of their geometries, performance characteristics, and impact on overall reactor design. It is found that the outside-vessel EMP design provides the same performance requirements and offers additional advantages compared to the in-vessel pump with only minimal reactor vessel modification and a slight drop in efficiency.