|Toshiba to Inaugurate New Research Facility for Next Generation Nuclear Reactors
20 February, 2008
To accelerate advanced research on fast reactor*1 technology with the cutting-edge high temperature liquid-sodium test loop
TOKYO--Toshiba Corporation today announced the opening of a new research facility equipped with a cutting-edge high temperature liquid-sodium test loop for conducting advanced research in essential technology for fast reactors, next generation nuclear reactors. The facility is located near the Isogo Nuclear Engineering Center (IEC), Toshiba's main nuclear power business engineering center, in Toshiba's Yokohama Complex. Through close coordination of key divisions, including R&D, design and engineering, Toshiba will accelerate improved development efficiency in sodium-related technology and equipment.
The test loop is one of the largest operated by any Japanese manufacturer in terms of flow rate and the heating and cooling capacity of liquid sodium, widely recognized as the preferred coolant for fast reactors. These characteristics allow the test loop to conduct simulations of sodium coolant at actual operating temperature and flow rates, and operation of the facility will provide Toshiba with essential data for fast reactor system design and verification of analysis methods. Toshiba also develops dedicated pumps, steam generators and measuring instruments for liquid-sodium systems, and the test loop will be used to confirm their performance to specifications.
As the world experiences a nuclear renaissance, resources are being channeled to accelerated development of fast reactors, which make highly efficient use of fuel resources. In anticipation of the transition to fast reactors, Toshiba will further enhance its sodium-related technology, in readiness for future business expansion in this promising market.
"We are delighted to celebrate completion of this new state-of-the-art liquid-sodium test loop and its excellent testing capabilities," said Mr. Yasuharu Igarashi, Executive Vice President of Toshiba's Power Systems Company. "The test loop will support our contributions to Japanese and international projects to advance adoption of nuclear energy, particularly Japan's Fast Reactor Cycle Technology Development Project and the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership in the United States. We believe the new research facility also allow us to realize early launch of the 4S system*2, which we want to commercialize as a distributed power source in the late-2010s."
Outline of New Facility
*1. Fast reactor is a category of nuclear reactor in which the fission chain reaction is sustained by fast neutrons, improving the efficiency of uranium utilization, which ensures effective utilization of limited resources.
*2. 4S (super-safe, small, and simple) system, a next-generation, nuclear reactor system, jointly developed by Toshiba and the Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry (CRIEPI), a Japanese electric power industry R&D institute, is a new-type of highly compact nuclear power generation system with power output of about 10-megawatts (MWe). Due to its innovative design and concept, the 4S can operate without refueling for as long as 30 years, greatly alleviating operating and maintenance costs and enhancing operational safety.
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