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Gas Power Cycle For Liquid Metal And Molten Salt-cooled Reactors

Research at the University of California Berkeley has led to the development of an innovative approach that addresses the material issues which have traditionally prevented the use of closed gas power cycles with liquid metal and molten salt coolants. Design calculations that apply these innovations have shown that cycle thermal efficiencies comparable to current helium-cooled reactor designs (> 45%) can be achieved using turbomachinery equipment and operating parameters very similar to those for current helium cooled high-temperature gas reactors.


Major benefits will come from the acquisition of technology that replaces steam power cycles for fission and fusion heated molten coolants. The advantages of a high thermal efficiency gas power cycle include a large reduction in the plant capital cost (steam power conversion equipment is typically almost half of the total capital cost of light water liquid metal and molten salt reactors) and greater safety from the use of a chemically inert gas coolant.

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