Patents Assigned to TerraPower, LLC.
  • Patent number: 10446284
    Abstract: A conduit housing includes a top face, a pair of side faces disposed opposite each other and adjacent to the top face, a front side, and a rear side. The top face includes a plurality of vertical conduit ports arranged in a plurality of rows. The front side is positioned between the pair of side faces and defines a plurality of stepped faces. The rear side is disposed opposite the front side and adjacent the top face. The stepped faces include a plurality of downward faces and each of the plurality of downward faces defines a downward face plane. The stepped faces also include a plurality of upward faces, where each of the plurality of upward faces defines an upward face plane. Each upward face includes a plurality of pitched conduit ports.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 13, 2016
    Date of Patent: October 15, 2019
    Assignee: TerraPower, LLC
    Inventors: Peter W. Gibbons, P. Harley Park
  • Patent number: 10438705
    Abstract: A molten salt reactor includes a nuclear reactor core for sustaining a nuclear fission reaction fueled by a molten fuel salt. A molten fuel salt control system removes a volume of the molten fuel salt from the nuclear reactor core to maintain a reactivity parameter within a range of nominal reactivity. The molten fuel salt control system includes a molten fuel salt exchange system that fluidically couples to the nuclear reactor core and exchanges a volume of the molten fuel salt with a volume of a feed material containing a mixture of a selected fertile material and a carrier salt. The molten fuel salt control system can include a volumetric displacement control system having one or more volumetric displacement bodies insertable into the nuclear reactor core. Each volumetric displacement body can remove a volume of molten fuel salt from the nuclear reactor core, such as via a spill-over system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 28, 2015
    Date of Patent: October 8, 2019
    Assignee: TERRAPOWER, LLC
    Inventors: Jesse R. Cheatham, III, Anselmo T. Cisneros, Jr., Jeffery F. Latkowski, James M. Vollmer, Christopher J. Johns
  • Patent number: 10410753
    Abstract: A fuel element has a ratio of area of fissionable nuclear fuel in a cross-section of the tubular fuel element perpendicular to the longitudinal axis to total area of the interior volume in the cross-section of the tubular fuel element that varies with position along the longitudinal axis. The ratio can vary with position along the longitudinal axis between a minimum of 0.30 and a maximum of 1.0. Increasing the ratio above and below the peak burn-up location associated with conventional systems reduces the peak burn-up and flattens and shifts the burn-up distribution, which is preferably Gaussian. The longitudinal variation can be implemented in fuel assemblies using fuel bodies, such as pellets, rods or annuli, or fuel in the form of metal sponge and meaningfully increases efficiency of fuel utilization.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 24, 2016
    Date of Patent: September 10, 2019
    Assignee: TERRAPOWER, LLC.
    Inventors: Jesse R. Cheatham, III, Ryan N. Latta, Samuel J. Miller
  • Publication number: 20190237205
    Abstract: A molten chloride fast reactor (MCFR) includes a plurality of reflectors defining a central core having a core geometric center. A flow channel fluidically connected to the central core. The flow channel includes an outlet flow channel downstream of the central core and an inlet flow channel upstream from the central core. A primary heat exchanger (PHX) disposed outside the central core and between the outlet flow channel and the inlet flow channel. The MCFR also includes a decay heat heat exchanger (DHHX). At least a portion of the DHHX is disposed above the core geometric center, and a fuel salt is configured to circulate at least partially through the outlet flow channel, the DHHX, the PHX, the inlet flow channel, and the central core.
    Type: Application
    Filed: January 31, 2019
    Publication date: August 1, 2019
    Applicant: TerraPower, LLC
    Inventors: Ryan Abbott, Anselmo T. Cisneros, Kevin Kramer, James A. Roecker, Daniel J. Walter, Kent E. Wardle
  • Patent number: 10325689
    Abstract: The generation of a nuclear core loading distribution includes receiving a reactor core parameter distribution associated with a state of a reference nuclear reactor core, generating an initial fuel loading distribution for a simulated beginning-of-cycle (BOC) nuclear reactor core, selecting an initial set of positions for a set of regions within the simulated BOC core, generating an initial set of fuel design parameter values utilizing a design variable of each of the regions, calculating a reactor core parameter distribution of the simulated BOC core utilizing the generated initial set of fuel design parameter values associated with the set of regions located at the initial set of positions of the simulated BOC core and generating a loading distribution by performing a perturbation process on the set of regions of the simulated BOC core to determine a subsequent set of positions for the set of regions within the simulated BOC core.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 27, 2013
    Date of Patent: June 18, 2019
    Assignee: TERRAPOWER, LLC
    Inventor: Nicholas W. Touran
  • Patent number: 10311983
    Abstract: A control assembly for a nuclear reactor having a pump includes a duct having an inner volume and defining a coolant flow path, a plug fixed to the duct, a rod disposed within the inner volume and having a rod end that is configured to engage a neutron modifying material, a first piston disposed within the inner volume, slidably coupled to the duct, and coupled to the rod, and a biasing member coupled to the rod and the first piston. The biasing member is positioned to apply a biasing force that repositions the first piston, the rod, and the neutron modifying material in response to a loss of pump flow without scram condition.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 31, 2015
    Date of Patent: June 4, 2019
    Assignee: TerraPower, LLC
    Inventors: Jesse R. Cheatham, III, Robert A. Corbin, Pavel Hejzlar, Christopher J. Johns, Jon D. McWhirter, Jason Brian Meng, P. Harley Park, Robert C. Petroski
  • Patent number: 10311981
    Abstract: This disclosure describes various configurations and components for bimetallic and trimetallic claddings for use as a wall element separating nuclear material from an external environment. The cladding materials are suitable for use as cladding for nuclear fuel elements, particularly for fuel elements that will be exposed to sodium or other coolants or environments with a propensity to react with the nuclear fuel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 17, 2017
    Date of Patent: June 4, 2019
    Assignee: TERRAPOWER, LLC
    Inventors: Micah J. Hackett, Greg A. Vetterick, Cheng Xu
  • Publication number: 20190153285
    Abstract: Sodium-tin and sodium-tin-lead compositions have been identified and created that exhibit better reactivity characteristics (i.e., are less reactive) than sodium metal under the same conditions, making these compositions safer alternatives to sodium metal for use as a coolant. These compositions include compositions having at least 90% sodium (Na), from 0-10% lead (Pb) and the balance being tin (Sn).
    Type: Application
    Filed: November 19, 2018
    Publication date: May 23, 2019
    Applicant: TerraPower, LLC
    Inventors: Robert A. Corbin, Christopher M. Regan, James M. Vollmer
  • Publication number: 20190153325
    Abstract: The thermochemical conversion of biomass material to one or more reaction products includes generating thermal energy with at least one heat source, providing a volume of feedstock, providing a volume of supercritical fluid, transferring a portion of the generated thermal energy to the volume of supercritical fluid, transferring at least a portion of the generated thermal energy from the volume of supercritical fluid to the volume of feedstock, and performing a thermal decomposition process on the volume of feedstock with the thermal energy transferred from the volume of supercritical fluid to the volume of the feedstock in order to form at least one reaction product.
    Type: Application
    Filed: November 16, 2018
    Publication date: May 23, 2019
    Applicants: TerraPower, LLC, Washington State University
    Inventors: Manuel Garcia-Perez, Joshua C. Walter
  • Publication number: 20190139665
    Abstract: Targetry coupled separation refers to enhancing the production of a predetermined radiation product through the selection of a target (including selection of the target material and the material's physical structure) and separation chemistry in order to optimize the recovery of the predetermined radiation product. This disclosure describes systems and methods for creating (through irradiation) and removing one or more desired radioisotopes from a target and further describes systems and methods that allow the same target to undergo multiple irradiations and separation operations without damage to the target. In contrast with the prior art that requires complete dissolution or destruction of a target before recovery of any irradiation products, the repeated reuse of the same physical target allowed by targetry coupled separation represents a significant increase in efficiency and decrease in cost over the prior art.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 30, 2018
    Publication date: May 9, 2019
    Applicant: TerraPower, LLC
    Inventors: Ken Czerwinski, Joshua C. Walter
  • Publication number: 20190066857
    Abstract: This disclosure describes various configurations and components for bimetallic and trimetallic claddings for use as a wall element separating nuclear material from an external environment. The cladding materials are suitable for use as cladding for nuclear fuel elements, particularly for fuel elements that will be exposed to sodium or other coolants or environments with a propensity to react with the nuclear fuel.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 4, 2018
    Publication date: February 28, 2019
    Applicant: TerraPower, LLC
    Inventors: Micah J. Hackett, Greg A. Vetterick, Cheng Xu
  • Publication number: 20190043625
    Abstract: This disclosure describes fuel-cladding chemical interaction (FCCI) resistant nuclear fuel elements and their manufacturing techniques. The nuclear fuel elements include two or more layers of different materials (i.e., adjacent barriers are of different base materials) provided on a steel cladding to reduce the effects of FCCI between the cladding and the nuclear material. Depending on the embodiment, a layer may be the structural element (i.e., a layer thick enough to provide more than 50% of the strength of the overall component consisting of the cladding and the barriers) or may be more appropriately described as a liner or coating that is applied in some fashion to a surface of the structural component (e.g., to the cladding, or to a structural form of the fuel).
    Type: Application
    Filed: July 19, 2018
    Publication date: February 7, 2019
    Applicant: TerraPower, LLC
    Inventors: Micah J. Hackett, Grant Helmreich, Ryan N. Latta, Gary Povirk, Philip M. Schloss, James M. Vollmer
  • Patent number: 10163534
    Abstract: A computerized system for modeling reactor fuel element and fuel design to determine the thermo-mechanical performance thereof includes a processor coupled to memory, the memory configuring the processor to execute a fuel element analysis and an output configured to communicate data that describes the thermo-mechanical performance of the fuel element and fuel design based on the fuel element performance analysis. The processor is configured to estimate the mechanical behavior of a fuel by creating separate variables for the open and closed porosity components, conducting a routine for the open and closed porosity components that processes the current state of the fuel and updates the current state and forces of each of the open and closed porosity components, and combining the updates for the current state and forces according to a weighting; and estimate the creep and swelling behavior of a cladding.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 26, 2015
    Date of Patent: December 25, 2018
    Assignee: TerraPower, LLC
    Inventors: Micah Hackett, Ryan Latta, Samuel J. Miller, Gary Povirk, Mark R. Werner, Cheng Xu
  • Patent number: 10157687
    Abstract: Disclosed embodiments include fuel assemblies, fuel element, cladding material, methods of making a fuel element, and methods of using same.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 9, 2017
    Date of Patent: December 18, 2018
    Assignee: TerraPower, LLC
    Inventors: Micah J. Hackett, Ronald L. Klueh
  • Patent number: 10144874
    Abstract: The thermochemical conversion of biomass material to one or more reaction products includes generating thermal energy with at least one heat source, providing a volume of feedstock, providing a volume of supercritical fluid, transferring a portion of the generated thermal energy to the volume of supercritical fluid, transferring at least a portion of the generated thermal energy from the volume of supercritical fluid to the volume of feedstock, and performing a thermal decomposition process on the volume of feedstock with the thermal energy transferred from the volume of supercritical fluid to the volume of the feedstock in order to form at least one reaction product.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 13, 2014
    Date of Patent: December 4, 2018
    Assignees: TerraPower, LLC, Washington State University
    Inventors: Joshua C. Walter, Manuel Garcia-Perez
  • Patent number: 10141078
    Abstract: Disclosed embodiments include nuclear fission reactors, nuclear fission fuel pins, methods of operating a nuclear fission reactor, methods of fueling a nuclear fission reactor, and methods of fabricating a nuclear fission fuel pin.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 12, 2010
    Date of Patent: November 27, 2018
    Assignee: TerraPower, LLC
    Inventors: Roderick A. Hyde, Jon D. McWhirter
  • Patent number: 10141079
    Abstract: Targetry coupled separation refers to enhancing the production of a predetermined radiation product through the selection of a target (including selection of the target material and the material's physical structure) and separation chemistry in order to optimize the recovery of the predetermined radiation product. This disclosure describes systems and methods for creating (through irradiation) and removing one or more desired radioisotopes from a target and further describes systems and methods that allow the same target to undergo multiple irradiations and separation operations without damage to the target. In contrast with the prior art that requires complete dissolution or destruction of a target before recovery of any irradiation products, the repeated reuse of the same physical target allowed by targetry coupled separation represents a significant increase in efficiency and decrease in cost over the prior art.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 23, 2015
    Date of Patent: November 27, 2018
    Assignee: TerraPower, LLC
    Inventors: Ken Czerwinski, Joshua C. Walter
  • Patent number: 10128003
    Abstract: Disclosed embodiments include fuel ducts, fuel assemblies, methods of making fuel ducts, methods of making a fuel assembly, and methods of using a fuel assembly.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 11, 2013
    Date of Patent: November 13, 2018
    Assignee: TERRAPOWER, LLC
    Inventors: Robert C. Petroski, Gary Povirk, Philip Schloss, Ashok Odedra, Michael E. Cohen
  • Publication number: 20180322968
    Abstract: A gas-cooled pressure tube nuclear reactor is described that uses a room temperature and pressure gas as a primary coolant and a liquid moderator as a secondary coolant. The primary coolant, which may be maintained in a supercritical state, is circulated through fuel columns in a pool of the liquid moderator. The primary coolant removes the heat generated by fission from the nuclear fuel. The heated primary coolant is then passed to one or more turbines to generate power. The primary coolant is then repressurized by one or more compressors using some of the generated power from the turbines. Several modified Brayton cycle configurations are described that are uniquely suited to the operating conditions of the gas-cooled pressure tube reactor.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 7, 2018
    Publication date: November 8, 2018
    Applicant: TerraPower, LLC
    Inventors: Jesse R. Cheatham, III, Michael E. Cohen, Brian C. Johnson, Robert C. Petroski, Nicholas W. Touran, Bao H. Truong
  • Patent number: 10109382
    Abstract: This disclosure describes various configurations and components for bimetallic and trimetallic claddings for use as a wall element separating nuclear material from an external environment. The cladding materials are suitable for use as cladding for nuclear fuel elements, particularly for fuel elements that will be exposed to sodium or other coolants or environments with a propensity to react with the nuclear fuel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 14, 2017
    Date of Patent: October 23, 2018
    Assignee: TerraPower, LLC
    Inventors: Micah J. Hackett, Greg A. Vetterick, Cheng Xu