High performance light water reactor

D. Squarer, T. Schulenberg (Corresponding Author), D. Struwe, Y. Oka, D. D. Bittermann, N. Aksan, C. Maraczy, Riitta Kyrki-Rajamäki, A. Souyri, P. Dumaz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

149 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of the high performance light water reactor (HPLWR) project is to assess the merit and economic feasibility of a high efficiency LWR operating at thermodynamically supercritical regime. An efficiency of approximately 44% is expected. To accomplish this objective, a highly qualified team of European research institutes and industrial partners together with the University of Tokyo is assessing the major issues pertaining to a new reactor concept, under the co-sponsorship of the European Commission. The assessment has emphasized the recent advancement achieved in this area by Japan. Additionally, it accounts for advanced European reactor design requirements, recent improvements, practical design aspects, availability of plant components and the availability of high temperature materials. The final objective of this project is to reach a conclusion on the potential of the HPLWR to help sustain the nuclear option, by supplying competitively priced electricity, as well as to continue the nuclear competence in LWR technology. The following is a brief summary of the main project achievements: • A state-of-the-art review of supercritical water-cooled reactors has been performed for the HPLWR project. • Extensive studies have been performed in the last 10 years by the University of Tokyo. Therefore, a ‘reference design’, developed by the University of Tokyo, was selected in order to assess the available technological tools (i.e. computer codes, analyses, advanced materials, water chemistry, etc.). Design data and results of the analysis were supplied by the University of Tokyo. A benchmark problem, based on the ‘reference design’ was defined for neutronics calculations and several partners of the HPLWR project carried out independent analyses. The results of these analyses, which in addition help to ‘calibrate’ the codes, have guided the assessment of the core and the design of an improved HPLWR fuel assembly. • Preliminary selection was made for the HPLWR scale, boundary conditions, core and fuel assembly design, reactor pressure vessel, containment, turbine and balance of plant. • A review of potentially applicable materials for the HPLWR was completed and a preliminary selection of potential in-vessel and ex-vessel candidate materials was made. • A thorough review of heat transfer at supercritical pressures was completed together with a thermal-hydraulics analysis of potential HPLWR sub-channels. This analytical tool supports the core and fuel assembly design. • The RELAP5 and the CATHARE 2 codes are being upgraded to supercritical pressures. Thus they can be used to support the HPLWR core design and to perform plant safety analyses. • Assessment of the HPLWR design constraints, based on current LWR technology was documented. This document stresses the various criteria that must be satisfied in the design (e.g. material, temperature, power, safety criteria, etc.) based on experience gained in the design of PWR. • Preliminary economic assessment concluded that the HPLWR has the potential to be economically competitive. However, an accurate assessment can only be done after the HPLWR design has been fixed. A more accurate economic assessment may be performed after the conclusion of this project.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-180
JournalNuclear Engineering and Design
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 2003
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • light water reactors
  • nuclear power plants
  • nuclear reactors


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