Washington Patent of the Month – November 2021

TerraPower, LLC is a nuclear reactor design and development engineering company based in Washington. Their primary focus has been the development of a class of nuclear fast reactors called the travelling wave reactor. This contributes to their foal of providing carbon-free energy and radioisotope extractions.

As a step in the development of this fast reactor, they have designed a direct heat exchanger for their molten chloride fast reactor (MCFR). Their MCFR has a series of reflectors which define a central core. A flow channel is fluidically connected to this central core and has a primary heat exchanger just outside of it. They have designed a direct reactor auxiliary cooling system (DRACS) which integrated a decay heat removal system to the MCFR. This limits the temperature increase within the reactor before excessive heat can damage any of the components. The DRACS has a decay heat exchanger (DHHX) within the reactor dedicated to removing decay heat during a shutdown event. This system is positioned upstream from the primary heat exchanger.

This decay heat exchanger provides a backup cooling solution in the case that the reactor has any power failure. For instance, a power shortage may lead to the salt pumps ceasing their function. Without the salt pumps, heat will build and rise. If the DHHX is positioned above the geometric center, it can intercept this decay heat and remove it before it causes damage. Also, by positioning this decay heat exchanger within the higher temperature flow areas of the reactor, the efficiency of both the DHHX and the reactor overall is increased. The design and placement are key to enhancing their MCFR’s functionality. 

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

Who We Are:

Swanson Reed is one of the U.S.’ largest Specialist R&D tax advisory firms. We manage all facets of the R&D tax credit program, from claim preparation and audit compliance to claim disputes.

Swanson Reed regularly hosts free webinars and provides free IRS CE and CPE credits for CPAs. For more information please visit us at www.swansonreed.com/webinars or contact your usual Swanson Reed representative.

Recent Posts