[ RadSafe ] Graphite moderated reactors

Franta, Jaroslav frantaj at aecl.ca
Thu Nov 10 08:09:48 CST 2005

All the early wartime & post-war plutonium production reactors, including
Hanford, were low-temperature graphite moderated reactors. With the
exception of the British reactors - and some early Russian RBMKs - none were
used for generating electricity, for two reasons (at least) : 
Their low operating temperature made electricity generation inefficient and
added a lot of expensive steam plant equipment to an otherwise relatively
cheap reactor. 
Secondly, the need for rapid & continuous refuelling (to extract the
weapons-grade plutonium before it degrades by further neutron absorption)
made the fuel cycle undesirable for an economic powerplant operation.

But its wrong to imply that graphite moderated reactors cannot be designed
for efficient generation of electricity.
This requires high operating temperatures to make efficient energy
conversion in a steam plant or gas turbine possible, along with high fuel
burn-up for an economic fuel cycle (which makes it into a totally useless
weapons Pu production plant).

Jaro Franta, P.Eng.
Tel.: (514) 875-3444
Montréal, Québec 
frantaj at aecl.ca
web master, CNS-Québec web site


-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl]On
Behalf Of Steven Dapra
Sent: Wednesday November 09, 2005 8:49 PM
To: radsafe at radlab.nl
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Graphite moderated reactors

Nov. 9

	I read today that graphite moderated reactors are not very efficient
generating electricity, but are very good for producing plutonium.  What is 
the reason for each of these?

	Reply by private e-mail if you wish.

Steven Dapra
sjd at swcp.com

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