|No 53 Em Português|
e&e : the Organization and the Periodical
The e&e Organization
Completion of Fabrication and Assembly of the Internals and Pressure Vessel of the LABGENE Reactor.
Leonam dos Santos
The Navy’s Technological Center in São Paulo (CTMSP) has successfully concluded in 2005 the final assembly of the pressure vessel and the internals of the Laboratory of Energy Generation’s Reactor (LABGENE). This structure together with the fuel elements and the control rods drive mechanisms are part of a PWR type Nuclear Reactor
Nuclear-Electric Generation Laboratory - LABGENE
The Brazilian Navy is constructing in the ARAMAR Experimental Center, located 120 km away from São Paulo, a prototype nuclear installation for generating electricity based on a pressurized water reactor (PWR) of low power.
This facility aims at obtaining the national technological capacity that will permit to develop in the country, in the next decades, nuclear plants of low and medium power and an installation for naval propulsion that satisfy the national defense strategic needs.
The Nucleoelectric Laboratory (LABGENE) was designed with the purpose of validating new concepts and devices that will improve the performance and safety of the nucleoelectric generation and will be a powerful tool for R&D activities relating to fuels and systems that will give support to the development of commercial and naval applications.
An extensive experimental program was carried out for validating the neutronic parameters of the reactor core project. This program is being implemented in a critical unit specially built for this purpose that started its operation in 1988. This small research reactor, denominated IPEN/MB-01, was entirely designed by Brazilians and was a remarkable feat of the national engineering at the time.
Reactor and Turbines Building
Reactor vessel with thermal isolation
The main components of the primary circuit, namely the reactor vessel (see figure above) and its internals, pressurizer, cooling pump, steam generators and associated ancillary equipment have been concluded. The reactor vessel and its internals have recently been successfully assembled in order to verify adjustments and tolerance.
The main cooling pumps will be subject to performance tests in an experimental device specially designed for this purpose. This device is connected to the Experimental Thermo-hydraulic Circuit with 150 atmospheres (CTE-150), originally designed and previously used for validating the parameters adopted by the project regarding the primary and secondary circuits of the installation. The project’s parameters and operational performance measurements of the control rods drives mechanisms were also validated in a testing bench specially built for this purpose. Other experimental testing benches were used for validating the hydro-dynamic parameters and the steam driers. Mock-ups of the reactor and of the equipment for fuel exchange in natural scale were also constructed for validating the corresponding operational procedures. These experimental testing benches and circuits constitute the multi-purpose thermodynamic laboratory (LABTERMO).
The main components of the secondary circuit are also concluded, including four turbo-generators, two main condensers that constitute a single unit, four condensate extraction pumps and four water feeding pumps. The turbo-generators are being tested regarding performance according to military rules (MIL-STD) in another laboratory, namely the Laboratory for Testing Propulsion Equipment (LATEP), specially built for that purpose.
Software that simulates the dynamic behavior of the complete installation, including navigation effects, will be in operation at the end of 2005. This simulator will permit the verification of the measurements concerning the integrated performance of the installation (primary and secondary circuits and electric system) and the development of technical specifications and procedures necessary for a safe operation.
The civil works at the site have been interrupted. The foundations of the Reactor Building and the Turbine Building (see photos above) are concluded. The contracts for continuing these works and for the fabrication and construction of the Nuclear Containment are ready to be signed and they are solely awaiting the availability of financial resources.
From 1980 until the end of 2004 about US$ 318 million have been invested in LABGENE relative to research, development, acquisition and construction and that corresponds to about 65% of its total value.
It is estimated that US 170 million will be necessary to conclude the LABGENE. Depending on the effective chronogram of allocated resources in the next years, the first reactor criticality could technically be reached in 2010.
The Conclusion of the Fabrication and Assembly of the Internals and the Pressure Vessel of the LABGENE Reactor
The CTMSP has successfully concluded on July 27 the final assembly of the Internals and Pressure Vessel of the LABGENE Reactor.
Pressure Vessel and Internals of the LABGENE Reactor.
The successful conclusion of the design, fabrication and assembly of this structure that together with the fuel elements and the control rods drives mechanisms will constitute a complete PWR type Nuclear Reactor, is a unique event in the Southern Hemisphere and it should be a source of great pride for the Brazilian Navy as well as for all Brazilians who believe in the competence of the country regarding the indigenous development of complex technologies.
LABGENE is an undertaking that is being developed under the responsibility of the Brazilian Navy and aims at developing the Brazilian capacity regarding nuclear electric generation which will make it possible to build small nuclear power plants and nuclear naval propulsion systems.
The conclusion of this structure highlights the CTMSP engineering capacity and that of Brazil regarding the design development and practical experience acquired in the fabrication of equipment and this will generate know-how that is unique, innovative and valuable.
Complete LABGENE Reactor.
From now on the equipment will be stored in their containers and will be kept in an inert atmosphere until the final assembly in the Reactor Building.
The development of science and technology, for which creativity and innovation must necessarily be present, is based on three fundamental premises: the first one is the human brain and the incentive to its potentiality; the second one is to congregate people and institutions around objectives, aims and targets that generate some strategic or social benefits; the third one refers to the national efforts, supplying adequate resources to the science and technology area.
This noteworthy milestone, a result of the fortunate combination of these three premises undoubtedly demonstrates its power. One must persist in keeping these premises.
Fabrication of the Reactor Pressure Vessel
Fabrication of the Reactor Pressure Vessel Lid
Assembly of the Reactor Internals Barrel
Reactor’s Internals Core
(*) Leonam dos Santos Guimarães is presently Assistant Manager of the Director-President of Eletronuclear and was Coordinator of the Nuclear Propulsion Program of the CTMSP
Graphic Edition/Edição Gráfica:
Tuesday, 11 November 2008.