Although the BWR’s that were built in the 1980’s were advancements on the simple designs of one’s built in the 1940’s, the active systems were the culprit on the flaws within the main designs. The newer ESBWR’s implemented a more passive system inside and outside of the core. Instead of using pumps to implement flow within the core, the ESBWR system uses natural circulation. This will show in the design parameters of each system on the advancements of the BWR design.
Although the ESBWR uses none of the active systems that the previous design entails, the power production from the natural circulation, gravity, evaporation, and condensation that the advanced design incorporates is much greater than the previous design. The previous design’s production of its components fit to a “build-as-you-go” concept; this can cause a longer production process, plus more of a chance that things going wrong with this production process. All the components of the ESBWR system are produced prior to putting the pieces together; therefore, this will cut production costs and time spent on the project.
As far as enrichment of fuel, the old and new designs do not differ much at all. For the 1980’s design, it has a fuel enrichment of 2.5-4.5% UO2. With the ESWBR, for a 24-month cycle, it has a UO2 enrichment of 4.2%. Due to the similar enrichment of the fuels, the core and plant design plays a big part in power production. Due to the ultimate passive design of the ESBWR, less intrusion on the natural circulation, gravity, and condensation within the operation of the plant leads to more efficient power production.
Croff, A. G. (16 December 2008). Reactors and Fuels. Introduction to Nuclear Chemistry and Fuel Cycle Separations. Vanderbilt University.
ESBWR. Information from: www.ge-energy.com/products_and_services/products/nuclear_energy/esbw r_nuclear_reactor.jsp.
General Electric-ESBWR. Information from:...