Nuclear Engineering ETDs


Bahman Zohuri

Publication Date



The purpose of this research was to model and analyze a nuclear heated multi-turbine power conversion system operating with atmospheric air as the working fluid. The air is heated by a molten salt, or liquid metal, to gas heat exchanger reaching a peak temperature of 660 0C. The effects of adding a recuperator or a bottoming steam cycle have been addressed. The calculated results are intended to identify paths for future work on the next generation nuclear power plant (GEN-IV). This document describes the proposed system in sufficient detail to communicate a good understanding of the overall system, its components, and intended uses. The architecture is described at the conceptual level, and does not replace a detailed design document. The main part of the study focused on a Brayton -- Rankine Combined Cycle system and a Recuperated Brayton Cycle since they offer the highest overall efficiencies. Open Air Brayton power cycles also require low cooling water flows relative to other power cycles. Although the Recuperated Brayton Cycle achieves an overall efficiency slightly less that the Brayton -- Rankine Combined Cycle, it is completely free of a circulating water system and can be used in a desert climate. Detailed results of modeling a combined cycle Brayton-Rankine power conversion system are presented. The Rankine bottoming cycle appears to offer a slight efficiency advantage over the recuperated Brayton cycle. Both offer very significant advantages over current generation Light Water Reactor steam cycles. The combined cycle was optimized as a unit and lower pressure Rankine systems seem to be more efficient. The combined cycle requires a lot less circulating water than current power plants. The open-air Brayton systems appear to be worth investigating, if the higher temperatures predicted for the Next Generation Nuclear Plant do materialize.


Brayton-Rankine combined cycle, Recuperated Brayton, generation IV nuclear power plants

Document Type




Degree Name

Nuclear Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Nuclear Engineering

First Advisor

McDaniel, Patrick

First Committee Member (Chair)

de Oliveira, Cassiano

Second Committee Member

Prinja, Anil

Third Committee Member

Shen, Yu-Lin