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BOILING WATER REACTOR
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A boiling water reactor (BWR) is a type of light-water nuclear reactor developed by the General Electric Company in the mid 1950s. 2.2.CONTENTS [hide]
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1 Description o 1.1 Comparison with other reactors o 1.2 Feedwater o 1.3 Control systems o 1.4 Start-Up ("Going Critical") o 1.5 Reactor Protection System SCRAM o 1.6 Thermal Margins o 1.7 Steam Turbines o 1.8 Safety o 1.9 Size 2 Advantages 3 Disadvantages 4 List of BWRs o 4.1 U.S. Commercial Boiling Water Reactor Nuclear Power Plants o 4.2 Other commercial BWRs o 4.3 Experimental and other BWRs o 4.4 Next-generation designs 5 See also 6 External links [EDIT] DESCRIPTION
The BWR is characterized by two-phase fluid flow (water and steam) in the upper part of the reactor core. Light water (i.e., common distilled water) is the
There are no naval BWR type reactors. the deuterium isotope of hydrogen replaces the common hydrogen atoms in the water molecules (D2O instead of H2O.3.  Comparison with other reactors Light water is ordinary water. there is no significant boiling allowed in a PWR because of the high pressure maintained in its primary loop (about 158 times atmospheric pressure).e.3. The civilian motivation for the BWR is reducing costs for commercial applications through design simplification and lower pressure components. such as the Canadian made CANDU reactor series. 2.2. In heavy water. The condensate is then pumped through feedwater heaters that raise its temperature using extraction steam from various turbine stages.. in civilian BWRs the steam going to the turbine that powers the electrical generator is produced in the reactor core rather than in steam generators or heat exchangers. resulting in less moderation. The water around the fuel elements also "thermalizes" neutrons. In contrast to the pressurized water reactors that utilize a primary and secondary loop.working fluid used to conduct heat away from the nuclear fuel. There is just a single circuit in a civilian BWR in which the water is at lower pressure (about 75 times atmospheric pressure) compared to a PWR so that it boils in the core at about 285°C. In comparison. Fissile fuel material. Feedwater from the feedwater heaters enters the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) . In comparison. which is necessary to improve the probability of fission of fissile fuel. i. The description of BWRs below describes civilian reactor plants in which the same water used for reactor cooling is also used in the Rankine cycle turbine generators.1. have large capture cross sections for thermal neutrons. lower neutron efficiency and lower power density than in the bottom part of the core. molecular weight 20 instead of 18).  Feedwater Steam exiting from the turbine flows into condensers located underneath the low pressure turbines where the steam is cooled and returned to the liquid state (condensate). reduces their kinetic energy. The Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) was the first type of light-water reactor developed because of its application to submarine propulsion. 2. The reactor is designed to operate with steam comprising 12–15% of the mass of the two-phase coolant flow (exit quality) in the top part of the core. such as the U-235 and Pu-239 isotopes. some other water-cooled reactor types use heavy water.
typical core flow may be 100E6 lb/hr with 14. The two phase fluid (water and steam) above the core enters the riser area. The water then goes through either jet pumps or internal recirculation pumps that provide additional pumping power (hydraulic head). The forced recirculation head from the recirculation pumps is very useful in controlling power. The water now makes a 180 degree turn and moves up through the lower core plate into the nuclear core where the fuel elements heat the water. A BWR can be designed with no recirculation pumps and rely entirely on the thermal head to recirculate the water inside of the RPV. In the downcomer region. well above the top of the nuclear fuel assemblies (these nuclear fuel assemblies constitute the "core") but below the water level. The steam then exits the RPV through four main steam lines and goes to the turbine. which is separated from the core by a tall shroud. Water exiting the fuel channels at the top guide is about 12 to 15% saturated steam (by mass). which is the upper region contained inside of the shroud. The heating from the core creates a thermal head that assists the recirculation pumps in recirculating the water inside of the RPV. At the top of the riser area is the water separator. However. The height of this region may be increased to increase the thermal natural recirculation pumping head. The feedwater subcools the saturated water from the steam separators. The feedwater enters into the downcomer region and combines with water exiting the water separators.5E6 lb/hr steam flow. core-average void fraction is a significantly higher fraction (~40%). . or Core Operating Limits Report. it combines with the feedwater flow and the cycle repeats. the steam is separated and rises upwards towards the steam dryer while the water remains behind and flows horizontally out into the downcomer region. By swirling the two phase flow in cyclone separators. This water now flows down the downcomer region.through nozzles high on the vessel. These sort of values may be found in each plant's publicly available Technical Specifications. The saturated steam that rises above the separator is dried by a chevron dryer structure. The thermal power level is easily varied by simply increasing or decreasing the forced recirculation flow through the recirculation pumps. however. Final Safety Analysis Report.
3.e. so reactor power increases. neutron moderation decreases. so reactor power decreases. 2. Positioning (withdrawing or inserting) control rods is the normal method for controlling power when starting up a BWR. As flow of water through the core is increased. which are born seconds/minutes after fission." power may be varied from approximately 70% to 100% of rated power by changing the reactor recirculation system flow by varying the speed of the recirculation pumps.3.6% of neutrons are emitted from fission products ("delayed" neutrons). fewer neutrons are slowed down to be absorbed by the fuel. neutron moderation increases.  Reactor Protection System SCRAM Depending on the power level of the reactor (i. the amount of liquid water in the core increases. ascending or at power) there are circumstances where all control rods will automatically insert.3.  Control systems Reactor power is controlled via two methods: by inserting or withdrawing control rods and by changing the water flow through the reactor core. more neutrons are slowed down to be absorbed by the fuel. which will take the reactor to decay heat power levels within tens of seconds. and reactor power decreases. As control rods are withdrawn. As flow of water through the core is decreased. neutron absorption increases in the control material and decreases in the fuel. steam bubbles ("voids") are more quickly removed from the core. Since ~ 0.5. Some early BWRs and the proposed ESBWR (Economic Simplified BWR) designs use only natural circulation with control rod positioning to control power from zero to 100% because they do not have reactor recirculation systems. 2.4.3.  Start-Up ("Going Critical") GE developed a set of rules in the '70s called BPWS (Banked Position Withdrawal Sequence) that help minimize notch worths and going critical with asymmetric patterns. the amount of liquid water in the core decreases. Changing (increasing or decreasing) the flow of water through the core is the normal and convenient method for controlling power. neutron absorption decreases in the control material and increases in the fuel. As control rods are inserted. and reactor power increases. all fission can not be terminated .2. steam voids remain longer in the core. When operating on the so-called "100% rod line.
would also cause MSIV to close since RPS is fail safe. Main Steam Isolation Valve Closure (MSIV) 1. void history) are tracked for each "node" in the reactor core (764 fuel assemblies x 25 nodes/assembly = 19100 nodal calculations/quantity). relevant quantities (margins. 2. the reactor protection system (RPS) is powered by offsite power 1. administrative controls are in place to assure some margin to these licensed limits. MFLCPR (Maximum Fraction Limiting Critical Power Ratio). All three of these quantities must be kept less than 1. Turbine stop valve or turbine control valve closure 1.instantaneously.0 during normal operation. indicative of loss of coolant accident 3. Low reactor water level indicative of: 1.  Thermal Margins Three calculated/measured quantities are tracked while operating a BWR. FLLHGR (Fraction Limiting Linear Heat Generation Rate). LOCA) 2. indicative of main steam line break 4. Typical computer simulations divide the reactor core into 24-25 axial planes. APLHGR (Average Planar Linear Heat Generation Rate). loss of offsite power would open all relays in the RPS would open causing all SCRAM signals to come in redundantly 2. burnup. etc. during normal operation. loss of proper feedwater 3. Automatic SCRAMs (SCRAM = immediate insertion of all control rods) are initiated upon: 1." Transition boiling is the unstable transient region where nucleate boiling tends toward film boiling. High drywell (primary containment) pressure 1.e. Loss of Offsite Power 1. MFLCPR represents how close the leading fuel bundle is to "dry-out" or "departure from nucleate boiling.6. generator load rejection will also cause closure of turbine valves and SCRAM reactor 5. if turbine protection systems wish to cease admission of steam the Reactor SCRAM is in anticipation of a pressure transient that would increase reactivity (collapse boiling voids) 2.3. A water drop dancing . loss of coolant accident (i. plant assumes a main steam break is coincident with loss of offsite power 2. power.
9% of fuel rods in a BWR core will not enter the transition to film boiling in the event of the worst possible plant transient/scram anticipated to occur. and steam does not transfer heat as well as water. Typical SLMCPR/MCPRSL (Safety Limit MCPR) licensing limit for a BWR core is substantiated by a calculation that proves that 99. This causes the immediate cessation of steam flow and an immediate rise in BWR pressure. which collapses the water vapor. In essence. pressures. MFLCPR is monitored with an empirical correlation that is formulated by vendors of BWR fuel (GE. The vendors have test rigs where they simulate nuclear heat with resistive heating and determine experimentally what conditions of coolant flow.0 Kw/foot prior to the transient. So. power increases drastically (120%) until it is terminated by the automatic insertion of the control rods. If a fuel pin was operating at 13. and reactor pressure will be in/out of the transition boiling region for a particular fuel design. the fission reaction is encouraged (more thermal neutrons). During film boiling a volume of insulating vapor separates the heated surface from the cooling fluid. Abiding by . this causes the temperature of the heated surface to increase drastically to once again reach equilibrium heat transfer with the cooling fluid. FLLHGR (FLDRX. This limit ensures that the centerline temperature of the fuel pellets in the rods will not exceed the melting point of the fuel material (uranium/gadolinium oxides) in the event of the worst possible plant transient/scram anticipated to occur. flows. These mock fuel assemblies are put into a test stand where data points are taken at specific powers. pressure in the vessel rises rapidly. the void collapse would cause its power to rise. where steam volume is the highest. this would cause the fuel cladding to overheat and fail. To illustrate the response of LHGR in transient imagine the rapid closure of the valves that admit steam to the turbines at full power. Westinghouse. steam semi-insulates the heated surface and surface temperature rises to allow heat to get to the cooling fluid (through convection and radiative heat transfer). AREVA-NP). the voids (vapor) collapse into solid water. When the voids collapse in the reactor. The FLLHGR limit is place to ensure that the highest powered fuel rod would not melt if its power was rapidly increased following a pressurization transient. This rise in pressure effectively subcools the reactor coolant instantaneously. fuel assembly power. MFCLPR typically occurs at the top of a fuel assembly.on a hot frying pan is an example of film boiling. which causes a power excursion which is terminated by the Reactor Protection System. It is obvious that nuclear fuel could be damaged by film boiling. Experimental data is conservatively applied to BWR fuel to ensure that the transition to film boiling does not occur during normal or transient operation. For new fuel. Since the BWR is boiling water. In other words. the vendors make a model of the fuel assembly but power it with resistive heaters. when the reactor is isolated from the turbine rapidly. this limit is typically around 13 Kw/foot of fuel rod. MFLPD) is a limit on fuel rod power in the reactor core.
 Steam Turbines Steam produced in the reactor core passes through steam separators and dryer plates above the core and then directly to the turbine. operating components and safety systems are designed to ensure that no .8. APLHGR being an average of LHGR is a margin to fuel melt during a LOCA (Loss of Coolant Accident . Because of this effect in BWRs. with a 7 second half life). so the turbine hall can be entered soon after the reactor is shut down. Because the water around the core of a reactor is always contaminated with traces of radionuclides. which is part of the reactor circuit. Most of the radioactivity in the water is very short-lived (mostly N-16. which would uncover the fuel. the thermal output decreases as the proportion of steam to liquid water increases inside the reactor. which in turn will cause an increase in the power output of the reactor. the fuel vendor/licensee simulate transients with computer models. Their approach is to simulate worst case transients in the reactor's most vulnerable states. the turbine must be shielded during normal operation.pressure boundary rupture). and radiological protection must be provided during maintenance. that is. a boiling-water reactor has a negative void coefficient. unlike a pressurized water reactor which contains no steam in the reactor core. the BWR reactor core continues to produce heat from radioactive decay after the fission reactions have stopped. However. These protection systems have capacities that they can handle and it is required that the heat stored in the fuel assemblies at any one time does not overwhelm the protection systems. The increased cost related to operation and maintenance of a BWR tends to balance the savings due to the simpler design and greater thermal efficiency of a BWR when compared with a PWR. The increased ratio of water to steam will lead to increased neutron moderation. making nuclear meltdown possible in the event that all safety systems have failed and the core does not receive coolant.3. APLHGR is monitored to ensure that the reactor is not operated at an average power level that would defeat the primary containment systems.  Safety Like the pressurized water reactor.7. 2.3. by a blockage of steam flow from the reactor) will result in a sudden decrease in the proportion of steam to liquid water inside the reactor. Also like the pressurized water reactor. for example. When a [reloaded] core is licensed to operate. a sudden increase in BWR steam pressure (caused. 2.the LHGR limit precludes melting of fuel in a pressurization transient. The BWR plant was designed with doom's-day protection systems that will ensure the integrity of the reactor fuel in the event of a massive pipe rupture and rapid depressurization of the vessel.
[EDIT] ADVANTAGES • The reactor vessel and associated components operate at a substantially lower pressure (about 75 times atmospheric pressure) compared to a PWR (about 158 times atmospheric pressure). reactor core size and reactor power density. . In the event of an emergency that disables all of the safety systems. each reactor is surrounded by a containment building designed to seal off the reactor from the environment. postulated failure can cause a pressure and power increase that exceeds the safety systems' capability to quickly shutdown the reactor before damage to the fuel or to components containing the reactor coolant can occur.credible. 2.  Size A modern BWR fuel assembly comprises 74 to 100 fuel rods. The current generation of BWRs. 2. holding up to approximately 140 tonnes of uranium. in operation in Japan.9.3. The number of fuel assemblies in a specific reactor is based on considerations of desired reactor power output.4. and there are up to approximately 800 assemblies in a reactor core. are called Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWR).
• • • • • • • Pressure vessel is subject to significantly less irradiation compared to a PWR. and so does not become as brittle with age. such as the ABWR. Operates at a lower nuclear fuel temperature. fewer welds and no steam generator tubes. Measuring the water level in the pressure vessel is the same for both normal and emergency operations. with correspondingly higher cost. however. and lower risk of a severe accident should such a rupture occur. (Older BWRs have external recirculation loops. (The new ESBWR design uses natural circulation. makes this less of an issue.) Lower risk (probability) of a rupture causing loss of coolant compared to a PWR.) Contamination of the turbine by short-lived activation products. which results in easy and intuitive assessment of emergency conditions. This requires more instrumentation in the reactor core. but even this piping is eliminated in modern BWRs. Can operate at lower core power density levels using natural circulation without forced flow. This is due to fewer pipes.[EDIT] DISADVANTAGES • • • . Fewer components due to no steam generators and no pressurizer vessel.) Complex calculations for managing consumption of nuclear fuel during operation due to "two phase (water and steam) fluid flow" in the upper part of the core. fewer large diameter pipes. (However. 2. This means that shielding and access control around the steam turbine are required during normal operations due to the radiation levels arising from the steam entering directly from the reactor core. The innovation of computers.5. the overall cost is reduced because a modern BWR has no main steam generators and associated piping. Much larger pressure vessel than for a PWR of similar power. A BWR may be designed to operate using only natural circulation so that recirculation pumps are eliminated entirely.
6.  U.6. Most other reactor types use top entry control rods that are held up in the withdrawn position by electromagnets. Washington (aka WNP-2.1. Commercial Boiling Water Reactor Nuclear Power Plants (this list is believed to be complete) • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Big Rock Point. Hanford-2. There is a dedicated high pressure hydraulic accumulator and also the pressure inside of the reactor pressure vessel available to each control rod. There are two available hydraulic power sources that can drive the control rods into the core for a BWR under emergency conditions. Wisconsin (decommissioned) . Either the dedicated accumulator (one per rod) or reactor pressure is capable of fully inserting each rod. causing them to fall into the reactor by gravity if power is lost. Puerto Rico (decommissioned)  Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant (Reactors 1.[EDIT] LIST OF BWRS 2. Michigan Fitzpatrick Nuclear Generating Station. Illinois Duane Arnold Energy Center. New Jersey Humboldt Bay. Michigan (decommissioned) BONUS.S. 2. New York Grand Gulf Nuclear Generating Station. Illinois Columbia Nuclear Generating Station. Georgia Hope Creek Nuclear Generating Station. and 3) Athens. Minnesota (decommissioned) Enrico Fermi Unit 2. 2. Mississippi Hatch (Edwin I. Alabama (Reactor 1 to return to service in 2007 following upgrades)  Brunswick Nuclear Generating Station. Iowa Elk River Station.• Control rods are inserted from below for current BWR designs. WPPSS-2) Cooper Nuclear Station. Nebraska Dresden Nuclear Power Plant. California (decommissioned) La Crosse Boiling Water Reactor. North Carolina Clinton Nuclear Generating Station. Hatch) Nuclear Generating Station.
Commercial BWRs outside the USA include: • • • • Finland: o Olkiluoto 1 & 2 Germany: o Brunsbüttel o Gundremmingen A (permanently shut down) o Gundremmingen B & C o Isar unit 1 o Krümmel o Lingen (permanently shut down) o Philippsburg unit 1. Illinois River Bend Nuclear Generating Station. New Jersey Peach Bottom Nuclear Generating Station. New York (decommissioned) Susquehanna Steam Electric Station.2. Illinois Limerick Nuclear Power Plant. California (idle) Vermont Yankee. o Würgassen KKW (permanently shut down) India: o Tarapur units 1 & 2 Japan: o Tokai JPDR (decommissioned) o Fukushima Daiichi units 1-6 o Fukushima Daini units 1-4 o Hamaoka units 1-4 o Kashiwazaki Kariwa units 1-7 o Onagawa units 1 & 2 . Minnesota Nine Mile Point Nuclear Generating Station. New York Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station. Louisiana Shoreham Nuclear Generating Station. Connecticut (decommissioned) Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant. Massachusetts Quad Cities Nuclear Generating Station.6. Pennsylvania Vallecitos Nuclear Center. Ohio Pilgrim Nuclear Generating Station.• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • LaSalle County Nuclear Generating Station. Pennsylvania Perry Nuclear Generating Station. Pennsylvania Millstone Nuclear Power Plant (Reactor 1 only). Vermont  Other commercial BWRs 2.
• • • • • Shimane units 1 & 2 Tokai unit 2 Tsuruga unit 1 Netherlands o Dodewaard (permanently shut down) Mexico: o Veracruz. units 1 & 2 Spain: o Cofrentes (1 unit) o Santa María de Garoña (1 unit) Sweden: o Barsebäck units 1 & 2  (permanently shut down) o Forsmark units 1-3 o Oskarshamn units 1-3 o Ringhals unit 1 (units 2-4 are PWRs) Switzerland: o Leibstadt (1 unit) o Mühleberg (1 unit) o o o 2. US Nuclear Regulatory Commission Advanced BWR General Description (Table of Contents. • • 2. with active links to text) Technical details and features of Advanced BWRs 2.4.[EDIT] SEE ALSO • • • • 2.8. BWR Simulator Program Boiling Water Reactors.[EDIT] EXTERNAL LINKS • • • • .  Experimental and other BWRs Experimental and other non-commercial BWRs include: • SL-1 (permanently shut down following accident in 1961)  Next-generation designs Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR) List of nuclear reactors SL-1 Accident and Lessons Containment building Nuclear Power 2010 Program Boiling Water Reactor.3. Laguna Verde.6.7.6.
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