Integrating seismic protection systems into nuclear power plants


Project description

Nuclear reactor in a science institute indoors.

All nuclear power plants are required to have a significant level of resistance to the effects of earthquake shaking, but the safety-grade nuclear equipment is generally large and routinely custom-made for each nuclear plant. Whittaker’s team will simplify plant design and standardize the equipment to drive down cost and speed construction.

Whittaker says the researchers expect at least a 20% reduction in overnight capital cost, and a minimum 10% drop in construction time for advanced reactors if these modular systems are implemented.

"The overarching goal of this project, which involves a multidisciplinary engineering team and designers of two fundamentally different advanced reactors,” Whittaker says, “is to adapt proven seismic isolation and damping technologies to operationalize modular protective systems for safety-class equipment inside advanced reactor buildings.”

The DOE allocated over $20 million in federal funds to 10 projects through its Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) program: Modeling-Enhanced Innovations Trailblazing Nuclear Energy Reinvigoration (MEITNER) teams, like UB’s, were tasked with identifying and developing innovative technologies that enable designs for lower cost and safer advanced nuclear reactors.