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Патент USA US3085066

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April 9, 1963
R
. |_ . WHITELAW
3,085,056
METHOD AND A P RATUS FOR G ERA'I‘
AND SUPERHEATINGA
EAM FROM NU
AR
RGY
Filed NOV. 50, 1955
2 Sheets-Sheet 1
INVENTOR.
Roberf L.Whii’e|aw
>444...
ATTORNEY
Aprll 9, 1963
R. L. WHITELAW
3,035,056
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR GENERATING AND SUPERHEATING,
STEAM FROM NUCLEAR ENERGY
Filed Nov. so, 1955
2 Sheets-Sheet 2
FIG. 3
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INVENTOR.
Roberf L.Whi1‘e|aw
BY
,
W
TORNEY
wUnited grates Fascist
3,®85,®5?
Patented Apr. 9, 1963
2
1
FIG. 3 is a vertical section through another embodi
ment of a reactor using the invention.
3,085,055
METH?D AND AiPPARATUS FGR GENERATING
FIG. 4 is a diagram of a power cycle arrangement in
AND SUPERETEATEN'G STEAM FRQM NUCLEAR
cluding the reactor of either FIG. 1 or FIG. 3.
ENERGY
In FIGS. 1 and 2 there is a themal type nuclear reactor
Robert L. Whitelaw, North Qanton, Ohio, assignor to The
10 including a vertically elongated pressure vessel 12 hav
Bahcoek & Wilcox COKEQZDY, New York, N.Y., a cor‘
ing a core chamber 14 formed by the cylindrical ba?le ‘16
poration of New Jersey
within the vessel. The core chamber 14 is geometrically
Filed Nov. 3%}, 1955, Ser. No. 549,938
arranged so that an aqueous solution of uranyl sulphate
12 Ciaiins. (Ci. 264-4542)
10 will ?ssion. A fuel solution enters the chamber by the
inlet pipe 18 and after circulation during ?ssion leaves by
This invention relates in general to a nuclear reactor
the outlet duct 20 and outlet pipe 22.
and more speci?cally, it relates to an improved breeder
The bame 16 in cooperation with the walls of pres
converter reactor in which the breeding blanket is cooled
sure vessel 12 form an annular shaped ‘blanket chamber
by superheated steam.
One of the best developed types of nuclear reactor is 15 24 longitudinally surrounding the core chamber 14. Dis
posed in a ring within this chamber 24 there is a plurality
one in which the coolant is pressurized water, either
of solid fertile material blanket assemblies 26. Each of
light or heavy. This type of reactor has various forms,
these assemblies 26 may be, as shown, composed of a
such as an aqueous homogeneous reactor in which the
plurality of concentric and spaced cylindrical plates ar
fuel is dissolved as uranyl sulphate in water; one using
solid fuel elements which the water is pumped to cool 20 ranged to pass a cooling ?uid therethrough and arranged
to be mounted to rotate about its major axis. Upper
them or in which the water boils; and another using fuel
bearings 28 and gear drive 30 are arranged to effect the
elements which are graphite moderated and water cooled.
rotation. An inlet pipe 32 is arranged to pass steam into
A common characteristic of these reactors is that the op
the blanket chamber 24 whence it passes in heat transfer
erating temperature of the water is limited to something
less than the critical temperature of water because of the 25 relationship with the element assemblies 26 and thence to
Water’s physical properties; therefore, when adapting these
and through an outlet pipe 34.
reactors to power generation all of the power cycles in
Disposed at the upper end of the pressure vessel there
is a pressure vessel extension 36 into which is connected
the line 38 from a system pressurizing device (not
volve the use of low temperature saturated steam.
Ac
cordingly, the resultant power from the steam cycle is
generated at a low thermal e?iciency compared to fossil 30 shown). Disposed within the extension 36 there is a
core chamber extension 40 having a liquid level 42 in
equilibrium and in communication with the vapor blanket
steam. This low e?‘iciency is due primarily to the absence
chamber 24. The length of the pressure vessel extension
of high temperature superheated steam for use in the
as and the core chamber extension 40 is suf?cient to as
cycle.
It has been proposed that the reactor-furnished low 35 sure the equilibrium without an excessive amount of
vapor condensation caused by the flow of heat ‘between
temperature saturated steam be heated in a separate fos
the vapor and fuel solution.
sil fuel-?red superheater which would enable the use of
The aqueous fuel solution in the core chamber ‘14 can
a power generation cycle of high thermal ef?ciency. This
be ?ssile fuel, such as slightly enriched natural uranium,
proposal, although producing power at a lower cost, re
U233, and/or plutonium in various amounts disposed in
quires dual fuel services for the reactor and the super~
fuel-?red power generating equipment using superheated
This dual arrangement necessarily complicates
either light or heavy water. The fertile material referred
the operation. Further, as atomic energy is to supplement
to in the assemblies 2e may be uranium 238 or thorium
and may include small percentages of ?ssile materials.
heater.
fossil fuel as a primary source of power, it is considered
to be an intermediary step in the eventual evolution of
atomic energy as a primary heat source.
Accordingly, the present invention provides a method
and apparatus of operating a thermal type nuclear reactor
having a core chamber geometrically arranged to ?ssion
a homogeneous aqueous ?ssile fuel solution and structural
fuel assemblies containing fertile material mounted to
rotate about their major axes in a blanket chamber sepa
Each fertile material may be selected depending upon the
45 neutron economy and conversion rate desired.
The reactor is arranged to provide a two region reactor
in which the chain reaction heat is primarily produced
in an aqueous homogeneous solution and is transported
by the fuel solution itself while the heat released in the
second chamber or blanket is released in the blanket
assemblies 26 which are rotatably mounted so that sub
rate from and longitudinally surrounding the homogene
stantially all of their surface may be exposed to the high
ous core chamber. Means are provided for passing steam
neutron ?ux of the core, thus assuring that maximum
through the blanket chamber in heat transfer relationship
with the fertile material elements, with the heat from the
fertile elements supplying the superheat for the steam gen
erated from the heat in the core chamber. The rotatably
conversion will take place during any loading period
within the reactor.
The arrangement of the pressure vessel extension 36
and the core extension 4% provides an arrangement where
by ‘the pressure may be equalized in the core chamber 14
and the blanket chamber 24 so that the ba?le 116 de?ning
60 the core chamber may be of minimum thickness to re
of the core.
The various features of novelty which characterize the
duce the neutron capture. This pressure equalization is
invention are pointed out with particularity in the claims
accomplished by allowing the Water level surface 42 of the
annexed to and forming a part of this speci?cation. How
fuel solution to be maintained at the saturation tempera
ever, for a better understanding of the invention, its op
ture by condensing vapor within the pressure vessel ex
erating advantages and speci?c objects attained by its use, 65 tension. The length of the liquid column in the core
reference should be had to the accompanying drawings
chamber extension 40 allows a temperature gradient to
and descriptive matter in which are illustrated and de
exist down to the operating temperatures of the core
scribed preferred embodiments of the invention.
which may be some 50-l00° F. lower in temperature.
Of the drawings:
The core chamber extension 40 is arranged with a mini
P16. 1 is a vertical section through the reactor of the
mum diameter to reduce the amount of the natural circu
invention.
lation of the ?uid so as to inhibit large amounts of heat
FIG. 2 is a plan section along the line 2—2 of FIG. 1.
transfer.
mounted fertile material assemblies are rotated so as to
expose substantially all of their surface to the neutron ?ux
3
4
FIG. 3 shows an alternate embodiment of the reactor
'of my invention in which many of the similar elements
are numerically designated as in FIG. 1 except that some
of them are designated by the same number with a pre?x
1. The difference between FIG. 1 and FIG. 3 is that
therewith, and said blanket comprising a plurality of
the core chamber 114 now contains a plurality of discrete
structural fuel elements 150. The inlet pipe of the pri
mary system ‘118 is arranged so that the fluid flows be
solid fertile material assemblies.
2. In a nuclear reactor, a body of ?ssile material ar
ranged in a core, a moderator disposed throughout said
?ssile material, a fertile material blanket encompassing
a substantial portion of said core, means passing steam
through said blanket in heat transfer relation therewith,
said blanket comprising a plurality of solid fertile mate
rial assemblies, and each of said assemblies being rotat
tween two baf?es 152 and 154 within the chamber 114
and then the ?uid ?ows down the outside passes 156 and 10 ably mounted to expose substantially all of its surface
to the neutron ?ux of said core.
158 to the outlet pipe 122. As in the reactor of FIG.
3. In a nuclear reactor, a body of ?ssile material ar
1 there is a core chamber extension 140 containing a liquid
ranged in a core, a fertile material blanket encompassing
level 142 in communication with the vapor within the
a substantial portion of ‘said core, means passing steam
pressure vessel extension 136 which provides a balance
of pressure within the pressure vessel 112.
15 through said blanket in heat transfer relation therewith,
said blanket comprising a plurality of elongated fertile
in the arrangement of the reactor in FIG. 3 an aqueous
the heat released in the heterogeneous fertile elements
material assemblies, and each of said assemblies being
rotatably mounted about its major axis in position to
expose substantially all of its surface to the neutron ?ux
126' in the blanket chamber 124.
A power cycle in FIG. 4 shows either the reactor 10
of said core.
' 4. In a nuclear reactor, a body of ?ssile material ar
liquid space and heated by an electrical heater is arranged
about their major axes in said blanket chamber, means
for so rotating said fertile material assemblies, a shell
and tube type vapor generator arranged at a position
remote from said reactor, means circulating cooling water
in a closed ?ow path through said reactor core and vapor
generator, and means for the continuous transport of heat
from the blanket to the generated vapor for the superheat
‘coolant, such as light or heavy water, transports the heat
released in the core chamber 114 while steam transports
ranged in a core, a moderator disposed throughout said
or 110 having a core chamber ‘14 connected so that the
?ssile material, a fertile material blanket encompassing a
primary ?uid cooling the core is circulated by the pump
substantial portion of said core, means passing steam
70 through the coolant loop 72 to a shell and tube type
steam generator 74 where the heat from the primary ?uid 25 through said blanket in heat transfer relation therewith,
said blanket comprising a plurality of elongated fertile
is indirectly transferred to boiling water. The blanket
material assemblies, each of said assemblies being rotat
chamber 24 is connected by the inlet and outlet connec
ably mounted about its major axis in position to expose
tions 32 and 34 into a closed steam circulating loop 76
substantially all of its surface to the neutron flux of
wherein the steam is pumped by the pump 78 from the
blanket chamber to a shell and tube type superheater 80 30 said core, and means for rotating said assemblies.
5. A nuclear steam generator comprising a nuclear re
wherein the transported heat from the blanket chamber
actor
including a core chamber geometrically arranged to
is transmitted to the generated steam ?owing from the
?ssion a body of ?ssile material, walls forming an an
steam generator 74 and which is transported by the line
nular fertile material blanket chamber encompassing a
82 into the superheater 80.
substantial portion of said core chamber, a plurality of
A pre'ssurizing device 84 constituting a vessel having a
elongated fertile material assemblies mounted to rotate
liquid level separating an upper steam space from a lower
with its vapor space in communication via the line 86
with a pressurizer connection 38 in the pressure vessel
extension 36 (FIG. 1). The line 86 has a small diameter
so as to transmit pressure without a large amount of
heat ?ow. A power turbine 88 receives the superheated
steam from the superheater by the line 90. A condensate
pump 92 takes the condensate out of the condensate 94
ing thereof.
‘6. A nuclear steam generator comprising a nuclear re
and pumps it via the feed water line 96 to the steam 45 actor including a core chamber geometrically arranged
generator 74 to complete the power cycle arrangement.
to ?ssion an aqueous fuel solution of ?ssile material, walls
The reactor 110 of FIG. 3 may be effectively used
forming an annular fertile material blanket chamber di
in the power cycle of FIG. 4 where the primary loop 72
rectly encompassing a substantial portion of said core
holds either light or heavy water. The vapor which is
chamber, a plurality of solid fertile material assemblies
circulated in the loop 76 will be a vapor corresponding 50 mounted in said blanket chamber, and means circulating
to either the light or heavy water in the primary loop.
a body of steam through said blanket chamber to super
Although the reactors have been described to transmit
heat the steam from the heat given up in the blanket as
the heat which generates and superheats steam by in
semblies.
direct means, each of the reactors would be capable of
7. A nuclear steam generator comprising a nuclear re
being arranged to have the steam generated indirectly in 55 actor including a core chamber geometrically arranged
a separate heat exchanger and to superheat that steam
to ?ssion a body of aqueous fuel solution of ?ssile mate
directly by passing it in contact with fertile material
rial, walls forming an annular fertile material blanket
elements in the blanket chamber of each of the reactors.
chamber encompassing a substantial portion of said core
It is contemplated that the term “superheating” encom
chamber, a plurality of elongated solid fertile material
passes reheating of partially expanded steam for further 60 assemblies mounted to rotate about their major axes in
use in the power cycle and that this reheated steam can
be effectively heated by the present invention.
said blanket chamber, means for rotating said fertile
material assemblies, and said core chamber arranged to
While in accordance with the provisions of the statutes
I have illustrated and described herein speci?c forms of
provide a fuel solution liquid level in communication
with the blanket chamber to balance pressure of the two
the invention now known to me, those skilled in the art 65 chambers.
will understand that changes may be made in the form
v8. A nuclear steam generator comprising a nuclear re
of the apparatus disclosed without departing from the spirit
actor including a core chamber geometrically arranged
of the invention covered by my claims, and that certain
to ?ssion a body of aqueous fuel solution of ?ssile mate
features of the invention may sometimes be used to ad
rial, walls forming an annular fertile material blanket
vantage without a corresponding use of the other features. 70 chamber encompassing a substantial portion of said core
I claim:
_
I
chamber, a plurality of elongated fertile material assem
1. In a nuclear reactor, a body of ?ssile material ar
blies mounted to rotate about their major axes in said
ranged in a core, a fertile material blanket directly en
blanket chamber, means for so rotating said fertile mate
compassing a substantial portion of said core, means pass
rial assemblies, a shell and tube type vapor generator
ing steam through said blanket in heat transfer relation 75 arranged at a position remote from said reactor, means
3,085,056
6
5
circulating the aqueous fuel solution in a closed flow path
reactor including a core chamber geometrically arranged
through said reactor core and vapor generator, a shell
to ?ssion a body of aqueous fuel solution of ?ssile mate
and tube type vapor superheater arranged remote from
rial, walls forming an annular fertile material blanket
said reactor, means passing the generated vapor from
chamber encompassing a major portion of said core
said vapor generator through said vapor superheater,
chamber, a plurality of elongated fertile material assem
and means circulating a separate body of vapor in a closed
blies mounted to rotate about their major axes in said
?ow path through said blanket chamber and said super
blanket chamber, means ‘for so rotating said fertile mate
heater for the continuous transport of heat from the
rial assemblies, a shell and tube type vapor generator
blanket to the generated vapor for the superheating
arranged at a position remote from said reactor, means
thereof.
10 circulating the aqueous fuel solution in a closed ?ow path
9. A nuclear steam generator comprising a nuclear
through said reactor core and vapor generator, a shell
reactor including a core chamber geometrically arranged
and tube type vapor superheater arranged remote from
to ?ssion a body of ?ssile material, walls forming an
said reactor, means passing the ‘generated vapor from
annular fertile material blanket chamber encompassing
said vapor generator through said vapor superheater,
a substantial portion of said core chamber, a plurality 15 means circulating a separate body of vapor in a closed
of elongated fertile material assemblies mounted to rotate
?ow path through said blanket chamber and said super
about their major axes in said blanket chamber, means
heater for the continuous transport of heat from the
for so rotating said fertile material assemblies, a shell and
blanket to the generated vapor for the superheating
tube type vapor generator arranged at a position remote
thereof, said core chamber arranged to provide a fuel
from said reactor, means circulating cooling water in a 20 solution liquid level in communication with the steam of
closed ?ow path through said reactor core and vapor gen
the blanket chamber to balance the pressures in the two
erator, a shell and tube type vapor superheater arranged
chambers, said liquid level positioned a distance from
remote from said reactor, means passing the generated
the main body of said fuel solution in said core chamber
vapor from said vapor generator through said vapor
to minimize the transport of heat from the steam in the
superheater, and means circulating a separate body of 25 blanket chamber to said fuel solution.
vapor in a closed ?ow path through said blanket chamber
12. A method of generating and superheating steam
and said superheater for the continuous transport of heat
comprising burning nuclear fuel in a thermal type reac
from the blanket to the generated vapor for the super
tion zone and simultaneously emitting heat and free neu
heating thereof.
trons converting fertile material to ?ssile fuel by said
10. A nuclear steam generator comprising a nuclear 30 neutrons from said reaction zone with the simultaneous
reactor including a core chamber geometrically arranged
release of heat, transporting heat by water from the fuel
to ?ssion a body of ?ssile material, Walls forming an
burning zone to a remote heat transfer zone to effect the
annular fertile material blanket chamber encompassing
generation of steam, transporting heat by steam from
a substantial portion of said core chamber, a plurality
the conversion zone to a second remote heat transfer
of elongated fertile material assemblies mounted to rotate 35 zone to effect the superheating of steam, and balancing
about their major axes in said blanket chamber, means
the pressure of the ?rst and second heat transport ?uids.
for so rotating said fertile material assemblies, a shell
References Cited in the ?le of this patent
and tube type vapor generator arranged at a position
remote from said reactor, means circulating cooling water
UNITED STATES PATENTS
in a closed flow path through said reactor core and vapor 40
18,613
Storm _______________ __ Nov. 10, 1857
generator, a shell and tube type vapor superheater ar
1,604,280
Haag ________________ __ Oct. 26, 1926
ranged remote from said reactor, means passing the
generated vapor from said vapor generator through said
2,743,225
Ohlinger _____________ __ Apr. 24, 1956
vapor superheater, means circulating a separate body of
vapor in a closed ?ow path through said blanket chamber 45
and said superheater for the continuous transport of heat
from the blanket to the generated vapor for the super
heating thereof, said core chamber arranged to provide a
liquid level in communication with the steam of the
50
lanket chamber to balance the pressures in the two
2,787,593
Metcalf ______________ __ Apr. 2, 1957
2,806,820
2,812,303
Wigner ______________ __ Sept. 17, 1957
Daniels ______________ __ Nov. 5, 1957
1,108,289
France ______________ __ Aug. 24, 1955
chambers, said liquid level positioned a distance from
the main body of said fuel in said core chamber to mini
mize the transport of heat from the steam in the blanket
chamber to said fuel solution.
11. A nuclear steam generator comprising a nuclear
FOREIGN PATENTS
OTHER REFERENCES
Proceedings of the International Conference on the
Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, held in Geneva August
8—August 20, 1955, vol. 3 (Power Reactors), United
Nations, New York, 1955, pages 250-272.
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