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This revised book covers the fundamentals of thermodynamics required to understand electrical power generation systems, honing in on the application of these principles to nuclear reactor power systems. This text treats the fundamentals of thermodynamics from the perspective of nuclear power systems. In addition to the Four Laws of Thermodynamics, it discusses Brayton and Rankine power cycles in detail with an emphasis on how they are implemented in nuclear systems. Chapters have been brought up-to-date due to significant new results that have become available for intercooled systems and combined cycles and include an updated steam table. The book starts with basic principles of thermodynamics as applied to power plant systems. It then describes how Nuclear Air-Brayton systems will work. It documents how they can be designed and the expected ultimate performance. It describes several types of Nuclear Air-Brayton systems that can be employed to meet different requirements and estimates component sizes and performance criteria for Small Modular Reactors (SMR) based on the Air-Brayton concept. The book provides useful insight into the engineering of nuclear power systems for students and the tabular data will be of great use to practicing engineers.



Chapter 1. Definitions and Basic Principles

Nuclear power plants currently generate better than 20% of the central station electricity produced in the United States. The United States currently has 104 operating power-producing reactors, with 9 more planned. France has 58 with 1 more planned. China has 13 with 43 planned. Japan has 54 with 3 more planned. In addition, Russia has 32 with 12 more planned. Nuclear-generated electricity has certainly come into its own existence and is the safest, cleanest, and greenest form of electricity currently produced on this planet. However, many current thermodynamics texts ignore nuclear energy and use few examples of nuclear power systems. Nuclear energy presents some interesting thermodynamic challenges, and it helps to introduce them at the fundamental level. Our goal here will be to introduce thermodynamics as the energy conversion science that it is and apply it to nuclear systems. Certainly, there will be many aspects of thermodynamics that are given little or no coverage. However, that is true for any textual introduction to this science; however by considering concrete systems, it is easier to give insight into the fundamental laws of science and to provide an intuitive feeling for further study. For further information, please refer to references [1–4] at the end of this chapter.
Bahman Zohuri, Patrick McDaniel

Chapter 2. Properties of Pure Substances

This chapter deals with the relationship between pressure, specific volume, and temperature for a pure substance.
Bahman Zohuri, Patrick McDaniel

Chapter 3. Mixture

Not all thermodynamic systems contain only pure substances. Many systems of interest are composed of mixtures of pure substances. It is important to be able to analyze these systems as well as those containing only pure substances. Therefore, an understanding of mixtures is essential to the study of thermodynamics.
Bahman Zohuri, Patrick McDaniel

Chapter 4. Work and Heat

This chapter deals with two quantities that affect the thermal energy stored in a system. Work and heat represent the transfer of energy to or from a system, but they are not in any way stored in the system. They represent energy in transition and must carefully be defined to quantify their effect on the thermal energy stored in a system. Once they are quantified, they can be related to the conservation of energy principle known as the first law of thermodynamics.
Bahman Zohuri, Patrick McDaniel

Chapter 5. First Law of Thermodynamics

The first law of thermodynamics states that the total energy of a system remains constant, even if it is converted from one form to another.
Bahman Zohuri, Patrick McDaniel

Chapter 6. The Kinetic Theory of Gases

As stated previously classical thermodynamics is very much a mathematical discipline. Given that the defining equations are known, the theory is developed around multivariable calculus. The theory is actually quite elegant, but it does not predict how to estimate or calculate the fundamental quantities or the properties that characterize them. For this, a transition to statistical thermodynamics is required. Statistical thermodynamics starts with the kinetic theory of gases and treats fluids as made up of large assemblages of atoms or molecules. It can be a very detailed and extensive theory that extends well beyond the subjects of interest to this text. However, a smattering of statistical thermodynamics, including the kinetic theory of gases, will be useful for understanding a number of classical thermodynamics phenomena. A brief sojourn into the kinetic theory of gases is useful.
Bahman Zohuri, Patrick McDaniel

Chapter 7. Second Law of Thermodynamics

The second law stipulates that the total entropy of a system plus its environment cannot decrease; it can remain constant for a reversible process but must always increase for an irreversible process.
Bahman Zohuri, Patrick McDaniel

Chapter 8. Reversible Work, Irreversibility, and Exergy (Availability)

From thermodynamic point of view, work is considered a macroscopic event, such as raising or lowering a weight or winding or unwinding of a spring. In this chapter, we talk about which work can be reversible or irreversible and what do we mean by either of these processes.
Bahman Zohuri, Patrick McDaniel

Chapter 9. Gas Kinetic Theory of Entropy

This chapter will attempt to provide a physical understanding of the concept of entropy based on the kinetic theory of gases. Entropy in classical thermodynamics is a mathematical concept that is derived from a closed cycle on a reversible Carnot heat engine. For many students it lacks physical meaning. Most students have a physical understanding of variables like volume, temperature, and pressure. Internal energy and enthalpy are easy to understand, if not intuitive. However, entropy is a bit more difficult. The discussion that follows is an attempt to provide physical insight into the concept of entropy at the introductory level. Prof. Leonard K. Nash, Dover Edition, 2006, bases this discussion on the excellent text, Elements of Statistical Thermodynamics [1–4].
Bahman Zohuri, Patrick McDaniel

Chapter 10. Thermodynamic Relations

In this chapter, we will discuss mathematical relationship of thermodynamics in exact formulation using differential formation of these relations.
Bahman Zohuri, Patrick McDaniel

Chapter 11. Combustion

Chemical combustion is the major source of energy used for transportation and the production of electricity. In this chapter, thermodynamic concepts important to the study of combustion are examined. Basic property relations for ideal gases and ideal gas mixtures and first law of thermodynamics have been discussed in previous chapters. Some review of these concepts will be covered as they are integral to the study of combustion.
Bahman Zohuri, Patrick McDaniel

Chapter 12. Heat Transfer

Thermodynamics deals with the transfer of heat to and from a working fluid and the performance of work by that fluid. Since the transfer of heat to a working fluid is central to thermodynamics, a short excursion into the technology of heat transfer is useful to tie thermodynamics to real-world devices. Heat transfer processes are never ideal, and a study of the technology of heat transfer will develop an understanding of the trade-offs in the design of the devices that actually accomplish the heat transfer. Heat transfer technology provides the basis on which heat exchangers are designed to accomplish the actual transfer of thermal energy.
Bahman Zohuri, Patrick McDaniel

Chapter 13. Heat Exchangers

A heat exchanger is a heat transfer device that exchanges heat between two or more process fluids. Heat exchangers have widespread industrial and domestic applications. Many types of heat exchangers have been developed for use in steam power plants, chemical processing plants, building heat and air conditioning systems, transportation power systems, and refrigeration units.
Bahman Zohuri, Patrick McDaniel

Chapter 14. Gas Power Cycles

An important application of thermodynamics is the analysis of power cycles through which the energy absorbed as heat can be continuously converted into mechanical work. A thermodynamic analysis of the heat engine cycles provides valuable information regarding the design of new cycles or for improving the existing cycles. In this chapter, various gas power cycles are analyzed under some simplifying assumptions.
Bahman Zohuri, Patrick McDaniel

Chapter 15. Vapor Power Cycles

Vapor (or Rankine) power cycles are by far the most common basis for the generation of electricity in large fixed plant operations. They were one of the first developed for steam engines and have been adapted to many applications. They have also been modified in a number of ways to improve their thermal efficiency and better utilize combustible fuels.
Bahman Zohuri, Patrick McDaniel

Chapter 16. Circulating Water Systems

Nuclear power plants are usually built next to lakes, rivers, and oceans. Not for the scenic views that such locales provide, but because water can absorb the waste heat produced by the plants. Nuclear power plants consume vast amounts of water during normal operation to absorb the waste heat leftover after making electricity and to cool the equipment and buildings used in generating that electricity. In event of an accident, nuclear power plants need water to remove the decay heat produced by the reactor core and to cool the equipment and buildings used to provide the core’s heat removal. This chapter describes the reliance of nuclear power plants on nearby bodies of water during normal operation and under accident conditions.
Bahman Zohuri, Patrick McDaniel

Chapter 17. Electrical System

It may seem unusual to insert a chapter on the electrical system in a text on thermodynamics, but after the energy generated is converted to electricity, it is still important to make the most efficient use of that electrical energy. There are two considerations that affect how efficiently the generated electrical energy is transmitted to the ultimate user or “load.” First the circuit must be balanced to deliver the maximum power to the load, and second the transmission voltage needs to be as high as possible to minimize transmission line losses. Both requirements will be explained below, and a short discussion of the electrical grid will follow to describe how the electrical energy is actually delivered to the consumer.
Bahman Zohuri, Patrick McDaniel

Chapter 18. Nuclear Power Plants

Currently, about half of all nuclear power plants are located in the United States. There are many different kinds of nuclear power plants, and we will discuss a few important designs in this text. A nuclear power plant harnesses the energy inside atoms themselves and converts this to electricity. All of us use this electricity. In Sect. 18.1 of this chapter, we show you the idea of the fission process and how it works. A nuclear power plant uses controlled nuclear fission. In this chapter, we will explore how a nuclear power plant operates and the manner in which nuclear reactions are controlled. There are several different designs for nuclear reactors. Most of them have the same basic function, but one’s implementation of this function separates it from another. There are several classification systems used to distinguish between reactor types. Below is a list of common reactor types and classification systems found throughout the world, and they are briefly explained down below according to three types of classification either (1) classified by moderator material, (2) classified by coolant material, or (3) classified by reaction type.
Bahman Zohuri, Patrick McDaniel

Chapter 19. Nuclear Fuel Cycle

Nuclear power has unresolved challenges in long-term management of radioactive wastes. A critical factor for the future of an expanded nuclear power industry is the choice of the fuel cycle – what type of fuel is used, what types of reactors “burn” the fuel, and the method of disposal of spent fuel.
Bahman Zohuri, Patrick McDaniel

Chapter 20. The Economic Future of Nuclear Power

From the global viewpoint and urgent need to support rising demand for electricity, many countries recognize the substantial role which nuclear power has played in satisfying various policy objectives, including energy security of supply, reducing import dependence, and reducing greenhouse gas or polluting emissions. Nevertheless, as such considerations are far from being fully accounted for in liberalized power markets, nuclear plants must demonstrate their viability on normal commercial criteria as well as their life cycle advantages.
Bahman Zohuri, Patrick McDaniel

Chapter 21. Safety, Waste Disposal, Containment, and Accidents

The public acceptance of nuclear energy is still greatly dependent on the risk of radiological consequences in case of severe accidents. Such consequences were recently emphasized with the Fukushima Daiichi accident in 2011. The nation’s nuclear power plants are among the safest and most secure industrial facilities in the United States. Multiple layers of physical security, together with high levels of operational performance, protect plant workers, the public, and the environment.
Bahman Zohuri, Patrick McDaniel


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