COMBINED THERMAL STORAGE
- Feb 22, 2021 3:07 am GMT
The Gates Foundation has funded research into safer nuclear thermal power and the natrium cooled reactor is the result. Natrium melts at just under the boiling point of water and remains in the liquid state up to over 800-deg C. It has to operate in a sealed environment, in the absence of atmospheric air.
The absence of pressure enhances the safety of a natrium cooled reactor, transferring heat from the reactor to a boiler located away from the reactor. Pipes made from corrosion resistant ceramic material such as silicon-carbide offer high thermal conductivity and high compressive strength, allowing water at high pressure to flow over pipes made of the material and operating in counter-flow heat-exchange mode. Pipes made of corrosion resistant ceramic may also transfer heat from a high-temperature (500 to 700-degree C) nuclear reactor to thermal storage material such as a molten salt mixture that in turn would operate well above its melting temperature. Such material would use heat capacity to convert water to steam. Natrium offers the possibility of including heat-of-fusion thermal storage material such as a mixture of 20% lithium fluoride and 80% lithium hydroxide.
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