Chapter 5

Gas-Cooled Reactors

Abstract

Gas-cooled reactors formed an early alternative to the more common water-cooled reactors. They are particularly attractive in situations where enriched uranium is not easily available since they can be designed to maintain a sustained nuclear reaction with natural uranium. Reactors of this design include the UK Magnox reactor and its successor the advanced gas-cooled reactor. Both utilized a graphite moderator and carbon dioxide as the coolant. A French design, the UNGG reactor, was similar to the Magnox reactor. This type of reactor can operate at a higher temperature than water-cooled reactors, allowing high efficiency operation. However the designs often proved expensive to build and prone to problems. ...

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