Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Project Aims To Make Sodium-cooled Nuclear Reactors Safe, Efficient

Date:
July 2, 2007
Source:
Kansas State University
Summary:
Proposals to reduce America's heavy dependence on foreign oil are helping to renew interest in nuclear energy. At Kansas State University, the goal is to help make that energy source as safe as possible.

Proposals to reduce America's heavy dependence on foreign oil are helping to renew interest in nuclear energy.

And at Kansas State University, the goal is to help make that energy source as safe as possible.

The K-State department of mechanical and nuclear engineering has received a three-year, approximately $550,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy's Nuclear Energy Research Initiative for the project "Experimental Development and Demonstration of Ultrasonic Measurement Diagnostics for Sodium Fast Reactor Thermohydraulics." Principal investigator Akira Tokuhiro, associate professor, along with Bruce Babin, assistant professor, Terry Beck, professor, and Mohammad Hosni, professor and department head, will look at technology issues in sodium-cooled fast reactors.

In reactor design, creating the reactor core and then the cooling system are the most important aspects, Tokuhiro said.

"Liquid sodium works well for this task," he said of the cooling system. Sodium conducts heat better than water, which is the current coolant of choice. In addition, sodium's boiling point is higher than water's.

"Reactors produce a lot of heat and you want a coolant that has a high boiling point," Tokuhiro said.

Although sodium makes an excellent coolant for reactors, it is chemically reactive and optically opaque, which has implications for operations, maintenance and inspections. Using sodium, rather than water, as a coolant was the subject of much research in the '60s, '70s and '80s. However, waning support for nuclear energy in the post-Three-Mile Island and Chernobyl years led research and development to basically cease by the early '90s, Tokuhiro said.

The concept is well-known, but Tokuhiro and co-investigators plan to undertake research on how to actually make a sodium-cooled reactor work and work safely and economically.

For example, reactor operators must be able to measure and monitor certain things in a reactor to make sure the coolant is working, such as the velocity, pressure and temperature of the coolant. Since scientists can't see through liquid sodium and it chemically reacts with oxygen, there are only a few ways to measure the velocity of liquid sodium in motion.

"Ultrasonic is practically the best way and our project will further develop the technology in this area," Tokuhiro said. "Also, since the speed of sound or acoustic waves change in sodium with temperature, if you can detect the change in this speed, you can back calculate the temperature of sodium -- in principle.

"These thermohydraulic measurements need to be well tested in order to assess their applicability in a sodium-cooled fast reactor," he said. "This research will maintain and extend the U.S. nuclear sodium fast reactor knowledge base, as well as educate the next generation of professionals familiar with the sodium fast reactor."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Kansas State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Kansas State University. "Project Aims To Make Sodium-cooled Nuclear Reactors Safe, Efficient." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 July 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070628072949.htm>.
Kansas State University. (2007, July 2). Project Aims To Make Sodium-cooled Nuclear Reactors Safe, Efficient. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070628072949.htm
Kansas State University. "Project Aims To Make Sodium-cooled Nuclear Reactors Safe, Efficient." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070628072949.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gulfstream G500, G600 Unveiling

Gulfstream G500, G600 Unveiling

Flying (Oct. 20, 2014) Watch Gulfstream's public launch of the G500 and G600 at their headquarters in Savannah, Ga., along with a surprise unveiling of the G500, which taxied up under its own power. Video provided by Flying
Powered by NewsLook.com
Japanese Scientists Unveil Floating 3D Projection

Japanese Scientists Unveil Floating 3D Projection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 20, 2014) Scientists in Tokyo have demonstrated what they say is the world's first 3D projection that floats in mid air. A laser that fires a pulse up to a thousand times a second superheats molecules in the air, creating a spark which can be guided to certain points in the air to shape what the human eye perceives as an image. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
Powered by NewsLook.com
What We Know About Microsoft's Rumored Smartwatch

What We Know About Microsoft's Rumored Smartwatch

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) Microsoft will reportedly release a smartwatch that works across different mobile platforms, has a two-day battery life and tracks heart rate. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins