Pebble bed modular reactor?the first Generation IV reactor to be constructed
Substantial interest has been generated in advanced reactors over the last few years. This interest is motivated by the view that new nuclear power reactors will be needed to provide low carbon generation of electricity and possibly hydrogen to support the future growth in demand for both of these commodities. Some governments feel that substantially different designs will be needed to satisfy the desires for public perception, improved safety, proliferation resistance, reduced waste and
... ed waste and competitive economics. This has motivated the creation of the Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems programme in which ten countries have agreed on a framework for international cooperation in research for advanced reactors. Six designs have been selected for continued evaluation with the objective of deployment by 2030. One of these designs is the Very High Temperature Reactor (VHTR), which is a thermal neutron spectrum system with a helium-cooled core utilizing carbon-based fuel. The Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR), being developed in South Africa through a world wide international collaborative effort led by Eskom, the national utility, will represent a key milestone on the way to achievement of the VHTR design objectives, but in the much nearer term. The PBMR project has been progressing rapidly over the past few years to a relatively high level of detail. The development programme has included an international team of renowned nuclear companies as well as several highly capable South African companies. Substantial testing has already been completed on key auxiliary systems and components, and a large scale "micro model" of a three shaft recuperated Brayton cycle has been built and commissioned to prove the operational concept. In parallel with the testing of these mechanical systems and components, a comprehensive fuel development, testing and verification programme has begun to support the licensing process. A construction programme for the PBMR has been defined in which a full-sized Demonstration reactor will be built at the Koeberg site in South Africa.