A high-temperature nuclear reactor, cooled by a liquid fluoride salt, is described. The reactor uses an annular fuel pebble comprised of an inert graphite center kernel, a TRISO fuel particles region, and a graphite outer shell, with an average pebble density lower than the density of the liquid salt so the pebbles float. The pebbles are introduced into a coolant entering the reactor and are carried into the bottom of the reactor core, where they form a pebble bed inside a plurality of vertical channels inside one or more replaceable Pebble Channel Assemblies (PCAs). Pebbles are removed through defueling chutes located at the top of each PCA. Each PCA also includes channels for insertion of neutron control and shutdown elements, and channels for insertion of core flux mapping and other instrumentation.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
This invention was made with Government support from the DOE-NE Nuclear Energy Research Initiative, Contract No. DE-FC07-05ID14669. The Government has certain rights in this invention.