University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Engineering Design Centre Seminars  > The Design of Small Modular Reactor (SMR) Cores for Civil Nuclear Marine propulsion

The Design of Small Modular Reactor (SMR) Cores for Civil Nuclear Marine propulsion

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Syed Bahauddin Alam.

Syed Bahauddin Alam, Nuclear Engineering

In an effort to de-carbonise commercial freight shipping, there is growing interest in the possibility of using nuclear propulsion systems. Reactor cores for such an application would need to be fundamentally different from land-based power generation systems, which require regular refuelling, and from reactors used in military submarines, as the fuel used could not conceivably be as highly enriched. Nuclear-powered propulsion allows ships to operate with low fuel costs, long refueling intervals, and minimal emissions; however, currently these systems remain largely confined to military vessels. This research project undertakes computational modelling of possible reactor core designs for this application with a view to informing design decisions in terms of choices of the fuel composition, materials, core geometry and layout. Computational modelling using appropriate reactor physics, thermal hydraulics etc. Codes are used for this project.

Motivated by growing environmental concerns and anticipated economic pressures, the overall goal of this study is to examine the technological feasibility of expanding the use of nuclear propulsion to civilian maritime shipping and to identify and propose promising candidate core designs. This project introduces Thorium based fuel for the soluble-boron-free small modular reactor (SMR) core design which incorporates the features of long core life and high power density utilizing low uranium enrichment.

This talk is part of the Engineering Design Centre Seminars series.

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