Subterranean Reactor Structures (e.g., Underground Containment, Underground Explosive) Patents (Class 376/273)
  • Patent number: 10726962
    Abstract: A nuclear reactor system that, in one embodiment, utilizes natural circulation to circulate a primary coolant in a single-phase through a reactor core and a heat exchange sub-system. The heat exchange subsystem is located outside of the nuclear reactor pressure vessels and, in some embodiments, is designed so as to not cause any substantial pressure drop in the flow of the primary coolant within the heat exchange sub-system that is used to vaporize a secondary coolant. In another embodiment, a nuclear reactor system is disclosed in which the reactor core is located below ground and all penetrations into the reactor pressure vessel are located above ground.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 24, 2017
    Date of Patent: July 28, 2020
    Assignee: SMR INVENTEC, LLC
    Inventors: Krishna P. Singh, P. Stephan Anton, Ranga Nadig, Indresh Rampall
  • Patent number: 10714221
    Abstract: A protection system is provided for protecting a nuclear reactor positioned on a barge which is floating in the water of a tank. The system includes one or more cones which are positioned on the upper end of the nuclear reactor which will disintegrate and deflect an aircraft or missile striking the same. The system also includes structure which permits the barge to move downwardly in the tank upon an aircraft or missile strike to reduce the impact force of the strike.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 8, 2017
    Date of Patent: July 14, 2020
    Inventor: Palvannanathan Ganesan
  • Patent number: 9892805
    Abstract: A nuclear power plant having buried buildings that include a containment building housing a nuclear reactor, a power generation building housing turbines, and a nuclear material storage building. A borated cooling water tank is located above the containment building and can gravity feed water thereto through cooling pipes. Steam exhaust pipes extend from the containment building to the bottom of the water tank. A float and valve arrangement provides seawater to keep the water tank at a constant water level. Horizontal tunnels have manually operated hatches to isolate the different buildings from one another. Vertical tunnels have gravity elevators.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 19, 2012
    Date of Patent: February 13, 2018
    Assignee: SERBEX TECHNOLOGY Y VALORES, S.L.
    Inventor: Javier Larrion
  • Patent number: 9812227
    Abstract: Disclosed is a method for building a nuclear reactor installation including a containment chamber surrounded by a protective casing. The method is characterised by the following essential construction phases: finding or preparing a cavern (2) in rocky ground or a mountain (3) which is connected to the outside world via a tunnel or shaft (4), constructing or introducing a sealed protective casing (5) made of steel which delimits the containment chamber (1) forming an enveloping intermediate chamber volume (6) between the protective casing (5) and the cavern walls (2?), and, filling the intermediate chamber (6) with concrete or cement (6?), with the exception of the tunnel or shaft (4).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 2, 2012
    Date of Patent: November 7, 2017
    Inventor: Björn Sigurd Rump
  • Patent number: 9453340
    Abstract: The invention provides a wall or ceiling covering arrangement (10) comprising a covering material (100) and a lighting system (200) arranged to generate light (210). The covering material (100) has a user side (101) and an opposite back side (102). The lighting system (200) is arranged at the back side (102) of the covering material (100) and the covering material (100) has a light transmission for light (210) generated by the lighting system (200) in the range of 0.5% to 30%, especially in the range of 1% to 20%. The covering material comprises a material selected from the group consisting of plasters and wallpapers.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 15, 2010
    Date of Patent: September 27, 2016
    Assignee: KONINKLIJKE PHILIPS N.V.
    Inventors: Maarten Marinus Johannes Wilhelmus Van Herpen, Markus Cornelius Vermeulen
  • Patent number: 9406407
    Abstract: A system and a method for capturing gaseous, particulate and liquid radioactive material released from primary containment of a Light Water Reactor (LWR) during severe accident conditions. The system includes a below-grade media area, connected to a reactor pressure vessel (RPV) and portions of primary containment, providing varying levels of adsorption/absorption of the radioactive material. The media area is located on-site to offer a passive, self-regulating structure for stabilizing a nuclear reactor. The capture system provides for liquid drainage and gaseous venting of the radioactive material, and a treatment capable of treating the media following stabilization of the reactor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 11, 2012
    Date of Patent: August 2, 2016
    Assignee: GE-HITACHI NUCLEAR ENERGY AMERICAS LLC
    Inventors: Eric P. Loewen, Jose Maria Caro, Derek Bass
  • Patent number: 8953734
    Abstract: The transition unit includes an outer cylinder that is cylindrically shaped and made of steel. A foundation for supporting the outer cylinder is provided. The foundation contains no metal reinforcements. Grounding rods are connected to the outer cylinder. The grounding rods extend to a water table. A lower support structure made preferably of wood is located within the outer cylinder. An inner cylinder is supported by the lower support structure. A canister is located within the inner cylinder. A cover is located on the outer cylinder for enclosing the transition unit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 26, 2007
    Date of Patent: February 10, 2015
    Assignee: Endless Energy, LLC
    Inventors: Jerry B. Morof, Claire T. Brown, Marjorie T. Wyman
  • Patent number: 8867690
    Abstract: A nuclear reactor includes a pressure vessel and a nuclear reactor core disposed in the pressure vessel. A subterranean containment structure contains the nuclear reactor. An ultimate heat sink (UHS) pool is disposed at grade level, and an upper portion of the subterranean containment structure defines at least a portion of the bottom of the UHS pool. In some embodiments, the upper portion of the subterranean containment structure comprises an upper dome, which may protrude above the surface of the UHS pool to define an island surrounded by the UHS pool. In some embodiments, a condenser comprising a heat exchanger including hot and cold flow paths is disposed inside the subterranean containment structure; and cooling water lines operatively connect the condenser with the UHS pool.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 25, 2011
    Date of Patent: October 21, 2014
    Assignee: Babcock & Wilcox mPower, Inc.
    Inventors: Ronald C. Watson, John D. Malloy, Michael J. Edwards
  • Publication number: 20140174081
    Abstract: A hybrid geothermal power system is discussed. The system includes a geothermal system including power plant (101) and pumping station (102) and a nuclear plant (103). Pumping station (102) is used to inject fluid from reservoir (104) through an injection well (105) into the bedrock (106) (also referred to as the hot dry rock HDR zone) and extracted via a secondary bore (extraction well) usually coupled to the power plant (101). In the present example however the injection well is linked to the extraction well (107). As fluid is injected into the bedrock a drop in temperature occurs due to heat transfer to the fluid. Nuclear plant (103) is utilised to combat this drop, the plant (103) has the fissionable components (1091, 1092, 1093) of the reactor positioned within bores (1081, 1082, 1083) within the HDR zone.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 31, 2013
    Publication date: June 26, 2014
    Inventor: Garry Hine
  • Publication number: 20140161217
    Abstract: Disclosed is a method for building a nuclear reactor installation including a containment chamber surrounded by a protective casing. The method is characterised by the following essential construction phases: finding or preparing a cavern (2) in rocky ground or a mountain (3) which is connected to the outside world via a tunnel or shaft (4), constructing or introducing a sealed protective casing (5) made of steel which delimits the containment chamber (1) forming an enveloping intermediate chamber volume (6) between the protective casing (5) and the cavern walls (2?), and, filling the intermediate chamber (6) with concrete or cement (6?), with the exception of the tunnel or shaft (4).
    Type: Application
    Filed: July 2, 2012
    Publication date: June 12, 2014
    Inventor: Björn Sigurd Rump
  • Patent number: 8660232
    Abstract: The invention relates to an inexpensively-/easily-decommissionable nuclear power plant, where a nuclear isle of one or more nuclear power-stations is installed in caverns, and further, side by side with them, a center for characterizing, treating and conditioning radioactive wastes and two repositories are installed in suitable caverns, with a final repository being adapted to store low-intermediate level nuclear wastes and a temporary repository being adapted to store spent fuel, high-level long-life radioactive materials and, in case, spare nuclear rods for reactor refueling.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 6, 2008
    Date of Patent: February 25, 2014
    Inventors: Sergio D'Offizi, Susanna Antignano
  • Publication number: 20130051511
    Abstract: A nuclear reactor includes a pressure vessel and a nuclear reactor core disposed in the pressure vessel. A subterranean containment structure contains the nuclear reactor. An ultimate heat sink (UHS) pool is disposed at grade level, and an upper portion of the subterranean containment structure defines at least a portion of the bottom of the UHS pool. In some embodiments, the upper portion of the subterranean containment structure comprises an upper dome, which may protrude above the surface of the UHS pool to define an island surrounded by the UHS pool. In some embodiments, a condenser comprising a heat exchanger including hot and cold flow paths is disposed inside the subterranean containment structure; and cooling water lines operatively connect the condenser with the UHS pool.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 25, 2011
    Publication date: February 28, 2013
    Inventors: Ronald C. Watson, John D. Malloy, Michael J. Edwards
  • Patent number: 8351562
    Abstract: A method for storing high level radioactive waste in a passively cooled cavity. In one embodiment, the invention comprises: (a) providing a container comprising an outer shell having an open top end and a hermetically closed bottom end, an inner shell forming a cavity, the inner shell positioned within the outer shell so as to form a space between the inner shell and the outer shell, and at least one opening in the inner shell that forms a passageway between the space and a bottom portion of the cavity; (b) lowering a hermetically sealed canister holding high level radioactive waste into the cavity via the open top end; and (c) positioning a lid having at least one inlet vent and at least one outlet vent atop the container such that the at least one inlet vent forms a passageway from an ambient atmosphere to the space and the at least one outlet vent forms a passageway from the cavity to the ambient atmosphere, the lid substantially enclosing the open top end.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 26, 2011
    Date of Patent: January 8, 2013
    Inventor: Krishna P Singh
  • Publication number: 20120051484
    Abstract: A fuel element storage and cooling configuration includes a fuel element storage pool and a cooling system having at least one first heat exchanger disposed in the fuel element storage pool and at least one second heat exchanger disposed in a heat sink and located at a distance therefrom, above a highest point of the first heat exchanger. The two heat exchangers are connected, using a pipe system, to form a closed circuit, which is at least partially filled with a flowable coolant. If the temperature of the first heat exchanger is increased with respect to the second heat exchanger, natural circulation of the coolant, and thus heat transport from the fuel element storage pool to the heat sink, is ensured without a pump apparatus.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 31, 2011
    Publication date: March 1, 2012
    Applicant: WESTINGHOUSE ELECTRIC GERMANY GMBH
    Inventors: MARCEL SCHMIDT, DANIEL FREIS, NORBERT HASPEL
  • Patent number: 8098790
    Abstract: Systems and methods for storing spent nuclear fuel below grade that afford adequate ventilation of the spent fuel storage cavity. In one aspect, the invention is a system comprising: a shell forming a cavity for receiving a canister of spent nuclear fuel, at least a portion of the shell positioned below grade; and at least one inlet ventilation duct extending from an above grade inlet to a below grade outlet at or near a bottom of the cavity; the inlet ventilation duct connected to the shell so that the cavity is hermetically sealed to ingress of below grade fluids.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 10, 2005
    Date of Patent: January 17, 2012
    Inventor: Krishna P. Singh
  • Patent number: 7933374
    Abstract: A system and method for storing high level waste. In one aspect, the invention is a system comprising: an outer shell having an open top end and a hermetically closed bottom end; an inner shell forming a cavity, the inner shell positioned inside the outer shell so as to form a space between the inner shell and the outer shell; at least one passageway connecting the space and a bottom portion of the cavity; at least one passageway connecting an ambient atmosphere and a top portion of the space; a lid positioned atop the inner shell, the lid having at least one passageway connecting the cavity and the ambient atmosphere; and a seal between the lid and the inner shell so at form a hermetic lid-to-inner shell interface.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 10, 2007
    Date of Patent: April 26, 2011
    Inventor: Krishna P Singh
  • Publication number: 20100303192
    Abstract: The invention relates to an inexpensively-/easily-decommissionable nuclear power plant, where a nuclear isle of one or more nuclear power-stations is installed in caverns, and further, side by side with them, a centre for characterising, treating and conditioning radioactive wastes and two repositories are installed in suitable caverns, with a final repository being adapted to store low-intermediate level nuclear wastes and a temporary repository being adapted to store spent fuel, high-level long-life radioactive materials and, in case, spare nuclear rods for reactor refueling.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 6, 2008
    Publication date: December 2, 2010
    Applicant: ENERGIES, LARGE & ALTERNATIVE S.R.L.
    Inventors: Susanna Antignano, Sergio D'Offizi
  • Publication number: 20100276581
    Abstract: An apparatus for performing an operation in a borehole penetrating the earth, the apparatus having: a carrier configured for conveyance through the borehole; and a neutron source disposed at the carrier and configured to produce a nuclear fusion reaction that emits a neutron to perform the operation.
    Type: Application
    Filed: April 28, 2010
    Publication date: November 4, 2010
    Applicant: BAKER HUGHES INCORPORATED
    Inventor: Steven M. Bliven
  • Patent number: 7330526
    Abstract: A system and method for storing high level waste. In one aspect, the invention is a system comprising: an inner shell forming a cavity for receiving high level waste, the cavity having a top and a bottom; an outer shell surrounding the inner shell so as to form a space between the inner shell and the outer shell; at least one opening in the inner shell at or near the bottom of the cavity, the at least one opening forming a passageway from the space into the cavity; a lid positioned atop the inner and outer shells, the lid having at least one inlet vent forming a passageway from an ambient atmosphere to the space and at least one outlet vent forming a passageway from the cavity to the ambient atmosphere. In another aspect, the invention is a method of using the system to store high level waste. In yet another aspect, the invention does not require the aforementioned lid but further comprises a floor plate wherein the inner and outer shells rest atop and are connected to the floor plate.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 6, 2005
    Date of Patent: February 12, 2008
    Inventor: Krishna P. Singh
  • Patent number: 7139358
    Abstract: A system and method for transferring a canister of spent nuclear fuel from a transfer cask to a receiving cask. In one aspect, the system comprises a below grade opening adapted for receiving a cask; a platform positioned within the opening, the platform capable of vertical movement; and at least two jacks for vertically moving the platform; wherein the platform is capable of lowering the cask within the opening. In another aspect, the invention is a method of transferring a canister of spent nuclear fuel to a cask comprising the steps of: lowering a receiving cask having a height into a below grade opening so that a portion of the receiving cask's height is below grade level; and transferring the canister to the receiving cask.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 10, 2004
    Date of Patent: November 21, 2006
    Assignee: Holtec International, Inc.
    Inventors: Krishna P. Singh, Stephen J. Agace
  • Patent number: 6793450
    Abstract: A system and method for transferring a canister of spent nuclear fuel from a transfer cask to a receiving cask. In one aspect, the system comprises a below grade opening adapted for receiving a cask; a platform positioned within the opening, the platform capable of vertical movement; and at least two jacks for vertically moving the platform; wherein the platform is capable of lowering the cask within the opening.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 5, 2002
    Date of Patent: September 21, 2004
    Assignee: Holtec International, Inc.
    Inventors: Krishna P. Singh, Stephen J. Agace
  • Patent number: 6714617
    Abstract: Encapsulating calcined radioactive waste in strong, corrosion-resistant spheres of dimensions such that heat from the radiation melts the ice at a rate which brings the spheres to the bottom of the permanent icefield in a relatively short time, with the resulting waste ultimately being no more hazardous than natural uranium ore.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 26, 2001
    Date of Patent: March 30, 2004
    Inventor: Ágúst Valfells
  • Patent number: 6597755
    Abstract: A nuclear power plant (18) and its heat exhanger (26) are enclosed in an envelope (22) which is suspended above a bored shaft (14) from a support stem (30). When appropriate, the stem (30) can be melted by a furnace (34) to drop the envelope (22) to the bottom of the shaft (14). Sand (42) can then be dropped onto the envelope (22) through a drainage pipe (46). While the nuclear power plant (18) is operating and suspended in the shaft, spent fuel rods (70) are dropped into a sand blasting machine's hopper (130), mixed with sand and dropped into a bag (134) containing a small explosive device. The bag (134) is then dropped to the bottom of the shaft (14) and the explosive detonated to scatter the contents of the bag (134). Optionally, more sand or earth is then added to reduce heat and radiation to acceptable levels.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 21, 2002
    Date of Patent: July 22, 2003
    Inventor: Leroy Paul Seefeld
  • Publication number: 20020196890
    Abstract: A dry radioactive substance storage facility stores spent fuel assemblies from nuclear power plants. The facility comprises a structure having a storage room storing storage tubes containing spent fuel assemblies. An air inlet duct defining an air inlet passage through which air is supplied into the storage room and an stack defining an air discharge passage through which air from the storage room is discharged outside are connected to the storage room. Radiation shielding members are disposed on the side of the air inlet duct and on the side of the stack, respectively, in the storage room to intercept radiation propagating toward the air inlet passage and the air discharge passage.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 25, 2001
    Publication date: December 26, 2002
    Applicant: Hitachi, Ltd.
    Inventors: Masashi Shimizu, Koichi Maki, Keiichiro Shibata, Masashi Oda, Naoki Kumagai, Hidetoshi Kanai
  • Patent number: 5920602
    Abstract: The invention concerns an underground storage facility for the initial storage of waste transported in containers (34, 36), in particular radioactive waste such as spent fuel elements. The store has transport galleries (10) giving access to storage galleries (12) for storage of the waste. In order to ensure, among other things, safe storage and ease of introduction and transfer of the waste, the invention proposes that the storage gallery (12) runs underneath the transport gallery (10) and is separated from it by a floor (14), designed for the transport of the waste, with closable openings (18) for the introduction and removal of the waste.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 4, 1998
    Date of Patent: July 6, 1999
    Assignee: Nukem GmbH
    Inventors: Werner Botzem, Harry Spilker
  • Patent number: 5771265
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for generation of electricity from packages of spent-fuel rods either on a remote site or in a permanent underground waste repository. It can also be applied to abandoned deep mines with high temperatures. Also many low-temperature geothermal reservoirs can generate electricity economically. Each individual fuel rod assembly is estimated to produce about 8 kilowatts and the total assemblies in the United States can generate about 63 megawatts of heat. Although this energy cannot be used to generate steam, it is harnessed in the invention by inducing ventilation in shafts constructed as part of an underground mined facility or by installation of ventilation chimneys at reactor sites. Natural ventilation phenomena has been observed and historically used to supply air in mines. It is also the same process that makes chimneys work in fire places and industrial furnaces.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 19, 1996
    Date of Patent: June 23, 1998
    Inventor: Parviz Montazer
  • Patent number: 5223208
    Abstract: Groundwater running below the surface is intercepted with a cutoff wall of a predetermined height and length to form an underground dam, and a nuclear power generation system is built below said underground dam. The water pooled in the underground dam is utilized as the secondary cooling water for the reactor of the power system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 8, 1991
    Date of Patent: June 29, 1993
    Inventor: Moritaka Ishimaru
  • Patent number: 5204054
    Abstract: A nuclear reactor system pressure vessel comprises a steel inner liner part, an intermediate insulative layer part and an outer pre-stressed concrete part encasing these parts. Use of the pre-stressed construction allows for construction of pressure vessels of larger size than heretofore, and this coupled with utilization of squatter reactor cores allows natural convective circulation in the reactor vessel of the heated water pool in the higher capacity systems currently being introduced. The reactor pressure vessel because of its suitability allows enhanced natural steam separation in the vessel and eliminates need for use of centrifugal steam separators. The outer vessel part can be a cast single piece structure or it can be an integrated concrete segment assembled structure embodying pre-stressing tendons arranged in various orientations to effect pre-stressing.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 6, 1990
    Date of Patent: April 20, 1993
    Assignee: General Electric Company
    Inventors: Harold E. Townsend, Perng-Fei Gou, Giancarlo Barbanti
  • Patent number: 5013519
    Abstract: An autonomous, decentralized fast breeder reactor includes a single reactor main vessel which houses a plurality of small-size reactor subsystems each having a small-scale fast breeder reactor core, and a plurality steam generator subsystems. These subsystems function in an autonomous manner and are caused to undergo a heat transfer with one another by a coolant circulating naturally through the interior of the main vessel, thereby constructing a cooperatively operating system. Steam generated by the steam generators is introduced to a turbine system and utilized in generating electricity. The condensate from the turbines is cooled by a heat accumulating pool, and the heat is utilized in a separate system. The entire system is installed underground and use is made of the difference in elevation. Use also is made of solid bedrock to construct a housing facility for the reactor.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 30, 1990
    Date of Patent: May 7, 1991
    Assignee: Doryokuro Kakunenryo Kaihatsu Jigyodan
    Inventors: Hisashi Nakamura, Hideo Sakaba, Kunihiko Yokoyama, Hitoshi Hayashida, Toshio Yatabe, Makinori Ikeda, Hiroaki Ohhira, Naoyuki Kisohara, Minoru Gunji, Satoru Nakai, Akira Ohtaki
  • Patent number: 4990026
    Abstract: In a process of lowering building structures, such as shutdown nuclear power plants or building structures which are to be erected as they are lowered, a caisson is constructed below the bed plate of the building structure. The caisson has a reinforced top plate for supporting the building structure by means of supporting elements and a reinforced concrete ring which depends from the rim of the top plate to constitute a cutting edge. A transfer duct, which is lowered with the top plate, is provided adjacent the rim of the top plate. Superatmospheric pressure is maintained by means of air locks in a working chamber which is defined under the top plate and enclosed by the ring.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 24, 1989
    Date of Patent: February 5, 1991
    Assignee: Alfred Kunz GmbH & Co.
    Inventor: Josef Ofenstein
  • Patent number: 4971751
    Abstract: Nuclear devices are detonated periodically inside an underground cavity in which a working fluid absorbs most of the thermal energy released by the device detonation. The kinetic energy contained in the shock wave created within the working fluid is absorbed by shock absorbers located outside the inner wall of the cavity. This wall consists of adjacent plate segments that separate and recoil outwardly as do pieces of shells of fragmentation grenades. The shock wave kinetic energy is transferred to the segments that are constrained in their outwardly-directed flight by shock absorbers. The shock-absorbing system is solidly attached to the rock structure surrounding the cavity. The loading transmitted to the rock is of a much lower intensity than that which the plate segments sense, though of a much longer duration. The momentum trapped in the shock wave is thus absorbed by the rocks but in a manner such that the rock structure is not affected.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 10, 1989
    Date of Patent: November 20, 1990
    Inventor: Constant V. David
  • Patent number: 4959193
    Abstract: A liquid metal cooled nuclear reactor having a passive cooling system for removing residual heat resulting from fuel decay during reactor shutdown. The passive cooling system comprises a plurality of partitions surrounding the reactor vessel in spaced apart relation forming intermediate areas for circulating heat transferring fluid which remove and carry away heat from the reactor vessel. The passive cooling system includes a closed primary fluid circuit through the partitions surrounding the reactor vessel and a partially adjoining secondary open fluid circuit for carrying transferred heat out into the atmosphere.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 11, 1989
    Date of Patent: September 25, 1990
    Assignee: General Electric Company
    Inventors: Anstein Hunsbedt, Charles E. Boardman
  • Patent number: 4839137
    Abstract: A method of providing a nuclear steam supply system that is constructed to include a barge or flotation base as an integrated portion thereof. The system is tested for operability and safety at the factory and then towed along navigable coastal or inland waterways, or overseas to foreign locations, to a prepared foundation site at its point of use. The overall unit is so constructed and arranged as to permit the removal of top and side portions to permit passage under low bridges and through narrow locks without requiring disassembly of safety class piping and wiring. The method further provides for a complete nuclear power plant constructed on multiple barges at a separate factory site in parallel with plant site preparation, i.e., in estuaries or caves.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 16, 1988
    Date of Patent: June 13, 1989
    Assignee: Westinghouse Electric Corp.
    Inventors: Stephen N. Tower, James A. Christenson, Howard E. Braun
  • Patent number: 4826652
    Abstract: A low capacity nuclear reactor with spherical fuel elements laid out in an underground configuration and characterized by a compact structure and the far-reaching elimination of active operating installations, such as a charging apparatus, gas purification installations and control systems. The reactor is particularly suitable for generation of heat for heating purposes. The graphite reflector surrounding the pile of fuel elements on all sides includes layers of spherical graphite elements with a diameter equal to that of the fuel elements. The poured part of the graphite reflector and the pile of fuel elements are located in a metal core vessel made of lattice work or perforated sheet metal and capable of supporting the entire weight of the graphite and fuel elements. The mesh or the holes of cage-like core vessel are smaller than the diameter of the spherical elements.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 29, 1986
    Date of Patent: May 2, 1989
    Assignee: Hochtemperatur-Reaktorbau GmbH
    Inventor: Josef Schoening
  • Patent number: 4788031
    Abstract: A concrete reactor pressure vessel for a low capacity, gas cooled nuclear reactor is provided. To assure the safe containment of the cooling gas in an economical manner and to remove the heat generated in the reactor core, the pressure vessel is equipped with reinforcing or prestressing elements. Cooling gas transfers its heat to a heat exchanger means consisting of the liner of the pressure vessel and cooling pipes mounted on the concrete side of the liner with water flowing through the cooling pipes. The heat exchanger comprises on the secondary side at least two mutually independent systems, each provided with collector pipe means located outside the reactor pressrue vessel for the forerunnings and afterrunnings of the cooling water. Each cooling pipe is connected by means of an inlet and a drain line with the corressponding collector pipe means.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 30, 1987
    Date of Patent: November 29, 1988
    Assignee: Hochtemperatur-Reaktorbau GmbH
    Inventors: Gerhard Becker, Josef Schoening
  • Patent number: 4701298
    Abstract: A low capacity nuclear reactor with spherical fuel elements in a subterranean configuration. The reactor is characterized by a compact construction and extensive elimination of active operating devices, such as charging installation, gas purification devices, regulating systems and safety systems. It is particularly suitable for the generation of thermal energy for heating purposes. A core vessel contains a pile of fuel elements also contains a portion of the graphite bottom and side reflector. Channels are provided in the part of the side reflector located inside the core vessel. Trim and shutdown rods are contained in the channels. The roof reflector rests on the stationary pile of fuel elements. The entire core vessel together with the components contained therein is removed following burnoff of the fuel elements. The heat generated in the core is transferred to a cooling system mounted on the inside of a pressure vessel enclosing the nuclear reactor by a cooling gas which flows from top to bottom.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 27, 1986
    Date of Patent: October 20, 1987
    Assignee: Hochtemperatur-Reaktorbau GmbH
    Inventors: Josef Schoening, Winfried Wachholz, Ulrich Weicht
  • Patent number: 4661311
    Abstract: The invention concerns a nuclear power plant located in an underground cavity, with a small high-temperature reactor which, together with a heat exchanger apparatus, is housed in a steel reactor pressure vessel. The reactor core comprises spherical operating elements which pass through the reactor several times. In order to provide unimpaired access to the components of the primary loop from above, the loading installation of the small high-temperature reactor is designed in a specific manner. It comprises a section located in a loading space under the reactor pressure vessel including a discharge device and a conveyor device. An addition device for fresh operating elements and a collector vessel for used operating elements are arranged either outside the underground cavity or, in the alternative, in the loading space.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 7, 1985
    Date of Patent: April 28, 1987
    Assignee: Hochtemperatur-Reaktorbau GmbH
    Inventors: Josef Schoening, Fritz Schmiedel, Peter Hobrecker, Helmut Winkenbach
  • Patent number: 4650642
    Abstract: Disclosed is a nuclear reactor containment including a reactor vessel disposed within a cavity with capability for complete inherent decay heat removal in the earth and surrounded by a cast steel containment member which surrounds the vessel. The member has a thick basemat in contact with metal pilings. The basemat rests on a bed of porous particulate material, into which water is fed to produce steam which is vented to the atmosphere. There is a gap between the reactor vessel and the steel containment member. The containment member holds any sodium or core debris escaping from the reactor vessel if the core melts and breaches the vessel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 21, 1985
    Date of Patent: March 17, 1987
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the United States Department of Energy
    Inventors: Emil L. Gluekler, Anstein Hunsbedt, Jonathan D. Lazarus
  • Patent number: 4643870
    Abstract: Disclosed is a nuclear reactor containment adapted to retain and cool core debris in the unlikely event of a core meltdown and subsequent breach in the reactor vessel. The reactor vessel is seated in a cavity which has a thick metal sidewall that is integral with a thick metal basemat at the bottom of the cavity. The basemat extends beyond the perimeter of the cavity sidewall. Underneath the basemat is a porous bed with water pipes and steam pipes running into it. Water is introduced into the bed and converted into steam which is vented to the atmosphere. A plurality of metal pilings in the form of H-beams extends from the metal base plate downwardly and outwardly into the earth.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 21, 1985
    Date of Patent: February 17, 1987
    Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the United States Department of Energy
    Inventors: Anstein Hunsbedt, Jonathan D. Lazarus
  • Patent number: 4569819
    Abstract: A spherical underground cavity is filled with saturated steam or a mixture of saturated steam and coal dust in which a nuclear device is detonated to provide the source of energy. The energy thus released heats the saturated steam to produce superheated steam used to generate power. If coal dust is mixed with the saturated steam in the correct ratio, the rise in temperature caused by the nuclear explosion initiates a chemical reaction between the steam and the coal to produce carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen can be used as fuel in an external power plant. The carbon monoxide and the hydrogen gases can also be separated for use as fuels or for industrial applications. The wall of the spherical underground cavity is isolated from the shock wave created by the nuclear explosion in the ambient saturated steam by a segmented steel shell. Each segments is supported by a shock absorbing mechanism attached to the rocks in which the cavity is embedded.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 6, 1984
    Date of Patent: February 11, 1986
    Inventor: Constant V. David
  • Patent number: 4483790
    Abstract: A shut-down atomic power plant or a section thereof, particularly the nuclear reactor, is disposed of by sinking it to below ground level by constructing a caisson with cutting edges from the foundations of said plant or section or by excavating a pit therebelow.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 22, 1981
    Date of Patent: November 20, 1984
    Assignee: Alfred Kunz & Co.
    Inventor: Herbert Gaiser
  • Patent number: 4442065
    Abstract: A passive "core catcher" is provided for preventing the escape of radiation in the unlikely event of a major failure of a nuclear reactor by melt-down of the core. The "core-catcher" structure includes a narrow vertically downwardly extending isolation tube, and aligned narrow heat-exchange structure forming a chilled wall crucible in which the molten uranium oxide forms a container for itself including a "frozen" or solid layer of uranium oxide adjacent the heat exchanger wall. A passive cooling system may include a water tower adjacent the above-ground reactor structure, which dissipates heat from the core-catcher heat exchanger, and from within the above-ground reactor structure by a second local heat exchanger.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 1, 1980
    Date of Patent: April 10, 1984
    Assignee: R & D Associates
    Inventors: Albert L. Latter, R. Philip Hammond, James L. Dooley
  • Patent number: 4297167
    Abstract: Nuclear reactor installation having a concrete cell disposed beneath the earth of a hill for enclosing activity-carrying components includes at least one additional concrete cell disposed in the earth separated from the first-mentioned concrete cell, the additional concrete cell having at most one-fortieth the volume of the first-mentioned concrete cell and being at least predominantly of shell-like construction, and including equipment of use for the nuclear reactor installation received in the additional concrete cell.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 29, 1977
    Date of Patent: October 27, 1981
    Assignee: Kraftwerk Union Aktiengesellschaft
    Inventor: Hans-Peter Schabert