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Design and Selection of Innovative Primary Circulation Pumps for GEN-IV Lead Fast Reactors

Genoa Nuclear Research Group (GeNERG)—Department of Mechanical Engineering, Energy, Production, Transport and Mathematical Models (DIME)/Division of Thermal Engineering and Environmental Conditioning (TEC), University of Genova (UNIGE), Via All’Opera Pia 15/A, 16145 Genova, Italy
Ansaldo Nucleare, Corso F. M. Perrone 25, 16152 Genova, Italy
National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN), Via Dodecaneso 33, 16146 Genova, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current address: E4 Computer Engineering, Via Martiri Della Libertà 66, 42019 Scandiano (RE), Italy.
Energies 2017, 10(12), 2079;
Received: 30 September 2017 / Revised: 19 November 2017 / Accepted: 21 November 2017 / Published: 7 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sources)
PDF [12696 KB, uploaded 7 December 2017]


Although Lead-cooled Fast Reactor (LFR) is not a new concept, it continues to be an example of innovation in the nuclear field. Recently, there has been strong interest in liquid lead (Pb) or liquid lead–bismuth eutectic (LBE) both critical and subcritical systems in a relevant number of Countries, including studies performed in the frame of GENERATION-IV initiative. In this paper, the theoretical and computational findings for three different designs of Primary Circulation Pump (PCP) evolving liquid lead (namely the jet pump, the Archimedean pump and the blade pump) are presented with reference to the ALFRED (Advanced Lead Fast Reactor European Demonstrator) design. The pumps are first analyzed from the theoretical point of view and then modeled with a 3D CFD code. Required design performance of the pumps are approximatively around an effective head of 2 bar with a mass flow rate of 5000 kg/s. Taking into account the geometrical constraints of the reactor and the fluid dynamics characteristics of the molten lead, the maximum design velocity for molten lead fluid flow of 2 m/s may be exceeded giving rise to unacceptable erosion phenomena of the blade or rotating component of the primary pumping system. For this reason a deep investigation of non-conventional axial pumps has been performed. The results presented shows that the design of the jet pump looks like beyond the current technological feasibility while, once the mechanical challenges of the Archimedean (screw) pump and the fluid-dynamic issues of the blade pump will be addressed, both could represent viable solutions as PCP for ALFRED. Particularly, the blade pump shows the best performance in terms of pressure head generated in normal operation conditions as well as pressure drop in locked rotor conditions. Further optimizations (mainly for what the geometrical configuration is concerned) are still necessary. View Full-Text
Keywords: nuclear energy; LFR; Generation-IV; pumps; CFD; liquid metal; ALFRED nuclear energy; LFR; Generation-IV; pumps; CFD; liquid metal; ALFRED

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Borreani, W.; Alemberti, A.; Lomonaco, G.; Magugliani, F.; Saracco, P. Design and Selection of Innovative Primary Circulation Pumps for GEN-IV Lead Fast Reactors. Energies 2017, 10, 2079.

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