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State-of-the-art Commercial 600 MWe HTGR Nuclear Power Plant
State-of-the-art Commercial 600 MWe HTGR Nuclear Power Plant

600 MWe high temperature gas-cooled reactor nuclear power plant HTR-PM600


Zuo-Yi Zhang 1     Yu-Jie Dong 1     Qi Shi 2     Fu Li 1     Hai-Tao Wang 1  

1.Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technology of Tsinghua University, Collaborative Innovation Center of Advanced Nuclear Energy
Technology, The Key Laboratory of Advanced Reactor Engineering and Safety, Ministry of Education, Beijing 100084, China;

2. Chinergy Co. ltd, Beijing 100193, China


Vol.33, Issue 8, Article number:101 (2022)




Plain Language Summary                    Research Story DOI


The Novelty

In order to commercialize the high-temperature gas-cooled reactor pebble-bed module (HTR-PM) demonstration project, this study developed the HTR-PM600, i.e. a 600 MWe high temperature gas-cooled reactor nuclear power plant. With a nuclear island size that is comparable to a domestic pressurized water reactor (PWR) of the same power level, the HTR-PM600 comprises six reactors modules directly replicated from HTR-PM. All of the modules are connected to a single steam turbine. Notably, the six reactor modules are accommodated by a large circular ventilated low-pressure containment (VLPC) which lowers the overall volume of the reactor building, optimizes the arrangement of the steam and feedwater pipes, provides close references of industrial foundations as well as experiences from PWR nuclear power plants, and achieves improved capacity of radioactive retention. The safety features of HTR-PM600 are identical to those of the HTR-PM whereby each reactor module is physically independent and isolated by its own concrete cavity. In addition, six separated reactor cavity cooling system (RCCS) are placed on the outer surface of the upper part of the containment. With the adoption of proven technology from HTR-PM, reference to layout practices of the PWR, and improved efficiency as well as cost, the HTR-PM600 is an economically competitive Generation IV nuclear energy technology.

The Background

The remarkable pebble-bed high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR) invented by Professor R. Schulton has led to the materialization of the 45 MWt AVR pebble HTG experimental reactor and 750 MWt THTR HTGR demonstration power station. Meanwhile, the concept of a ‘modular’ HTGR technology with inherent safety features gave rise to the development of a 200 MWt modular pebble-bed HTGR (i.e. HTR-Module) which has not been constructed to date. Following the rapid advancement in HTGR technology, scientists in China have successfully developed the HTR-10 and HTR-PM (i.e. a 200 MWe pebble-bed modular HTGR nuclear power demonstration plant) in the 1990’s and 2000’s, respectively. The achievement of HTR-PM indicated the readiness for the commercialization phase. Therefore, the HTR-PM600, an enhanced version of HTR-PM, was planned and executed primarily for commercialization purpose. The triumphant implementation of HTR-PM600 marks a significant milestone in the global development of Generation IV nuclear power technology.

The SDG Impact

Nuclear energy is the second-largest source of low-carbon electricity behind hydropower. The high-energy density of nuclear energy is essential in addressing the existing energy gap, implying the need for extensive research to develop an economically competitive nuclear energy technology. The materialization of HTR-PM600 paves a path to the implementation of commercial Generation IV nuclear power plants and, thus, this study realizes UNSDG 9: Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure.

Graphical Abstract