Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Bustos J., Vergara J., Correa F. (2020)

Development of a concept power plant using a Small Modular Reactor coupled with a Supercritical Brayton cycle for sustainable Antarctic stations

Revista : Progress in Nuclear Energy
Volumen : 132
Número : 103606
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


Antarctica is the continent with harshest conditions on Earth, despite this it gathers a fairly large population due to its importance in scientific research dispersed in several bases. Because of its role in science, it may become more populated and new areas of research may be opened. Therefore, a sustainable energy system is needed in order to maintain the pristine condition of this continent. The objective of this work was to develop a concept power plant suitable for McMurdo-Scott, South Pole and South Shetland islands, the most relevant year-round Antarctic stations that rely almost fully on fossil fuels. After a thorough analysis of the energy requirements and energy conversion cycles we reviewed several advanced reactor designs and selected a very Small Modular Reactor coupled to a supercritical cycle as an emissions free solution for Antarctica. A mathematical model was applied to optimize the heat cycle after an analysis of the total conductance value in the recuperators. The result was a Heat Pipe SMR with a supercritical recompression Brayton cycle with net electrical power of 1500 kW and efficiency of 40, 55% cooled by air.