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Additional resources for A 50-100 kWe Gas-Cooled Reactor for Use on Mars

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This burnup results in a loss of $1 reactivity. 2 Reactor Multiplication Vs Reflector Position The primary goal of this study was to ensure that there was sufficient excess reactivity in the neutron multiplication factor to keep the reactor critical for the 10 year lifespan while ensuring that the reactor would be subcritical during major accident scenarios. The position of the reflector can be used to set the multiplication factor of the reactor. Burnup in the reactor causes a proliferation of additional materials to absorb neutrons and reduces the density of fissile materials, lowering the neutron multiplication of the reactor.

This keeps cool inlet gas in contact with the outer pressure vessel reducing its temperature to 850 K from the 960K of the outer surface of the fuel pin block. In the bottom hemisphere, it then loops around (3) and is forced up through the coolant channels around the fuel pins (4). Finally the gas exits the top of the reactor on its way to the turbine (5). 3 Pressure Vessel Composition: Hastelloy-X As a result of the desire for a pressure vessel material compatible with the Martian environment at the desired temperatures Hastx was chosen for the pressure vessel.

The deciding factor between the two is the peak temperature in the core. If a lower temperature (and efficiency) is acceptable, then HastX is probably the better choice. Niobium 1% Zirconium is the higher-temperature alternative. To achieve hicher efficiency the core block of the reactor will be made out of Nb1Zr. At 100 kWe the temperature in the block is high enough that the long term creep strength of HastX is a concern. 5 Reactor Control Methods The reactor will be controlled with external reflectors that slide axially up and down along the reactor creating a gap adjacent to the active fuel length of the reactor as shown in Figure 4-6.

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A 50-100 kWe Gas-Cooled Reactor for Use on Mars

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