The Reactor

With worldwide demand for electrical power expected to double over the next 25 years, the world faces the daunting challenge of providing affordable electricity to an expanding population without exacerbating climate change or fostering nuclear proliferation. Advanced Reactor Concepts, L.L.C. (ARC) will address this challenge. ARC is developing an exportable, factory-produced, 100 MWe nuclear reactor with fixed fuel costs for 20+ years.

The ARC-100 design creates a "walk away" passive safety system that insures the reactor will never melt down even in a disaster that causes a complete loss of power to the plant site. In addition, it can be fueled with the nuclear waste produced by traditional reactors, and its 20 year refueling cycle offers new levels of proliferation resistance. It provides a new model for nuclear power that is based on factory fabrication of modular components that can be shipped for rapid site assembly, thereby promoting the prompt start of a revenue stream. 

The reactor's basic technology was proven through the successful 30 year operation of the EBR-II prototype (described below) .  ARC has made significant proprietary advances to the original EBR-II design in order to create the ARC-100.

 

Download the ARC-100 Brochure

5 advantages

  1. Small Size
    Small enough that its modularized components can be shipped and installed at the site using regular commercial equipment, such as barges, rail, trucks, and construction cranes.
     
  2. Sodium as Coolant
    The use of sodium instead of water as the heat transfer agent in the reactor allows the reactor to operate at ambient pressure.  Its containment vessel is a double walled stainless steel tank rather than a 12 inch thick forged steel containment vessel required for traditional light water reactors.
     
  3. Passive Safety
    Effectively "walk away" fail safe and protection of the reactor from a melt down does not depend on extra pumps, operator intervention or any external system in the event a disaster destroys all electric power to the plant site.
     
  4. Re-use of Nuclear Waste
    The ability of ARC-100 to recycle traditional nuclear waste and generate energy, burn or transform plutonium that could be used for weapons and eliminate the need to bury or store large quantities of nuclear waste.
     
  5. Twenty Year Refueling Cycle
    The proprietary reactor core of the ARC reactor is designed to operate for 20+ years without refueling.

EBR-II

The protype for the ARC-100 reactor is a reactor known as the EBR-II.  The EBR-II was operated by the US government's Argonne National Laboratory in Idaho for 30 years as a very successful test and demonstration sodium-cooled fast-reactor power plant. As a complete power plant, the reliability of the system was demonstrated, and sodium operating and maintenance technology was established. As an irradiation test facility, Oxide, Metal, Carbide and Nitride fuels were developed. Oxide fuel for the FFTF and CRBRP was qualified and Metal fuel was extensively developed for EBR-II. As an operational-safety test facility, the self-protecting response of a metal-fueled reactor was demonstrated for Anticipated Transients without Scram and the benefits to safety were quantified in a PRA. The safety of operation with breached fuel was also demonstrated. As the Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) prototype, proliferation-resistant reprocessing and recycle of fuel was demonstrated and fuel containing minor actinides was fabricated and irradiated. When decommissioned, draining and reaction of the sodium to produce an acceptable form for disposal was accomplished, including passivation of residual sodium. Waste forms for geologic storage of waste from fuel reprocessing were developed and qualified. The EBR-II experience and test program has established the viability of sodium-cooled fast reactor power plants.

Download EBR-II Document