11 Dec '11, 5pm
Alternative Nuclear Power: Pebble Bed Reactor
Early experimental work with pebble bed reactors was carried out in Germany beginning in the 1960s. Pebble bed reactors were thought to be a promising next step in reactor design. But several issues operational made the pebble bed design less than ideal. Contaminated graphite dust is created from the pebbles from friction as they move down through the reactor. Tests carried out with dummy pebbles also found overheating conditions inside the reactor. The volume of radioactive waste from a pebble bed reactor is larger than that from other designs, which presents more of a problem when dealing with spent pebbles. And decomissioning the reactor may have higher costs because of the radioactivity of the reactor components.