New Designs for Nuclear Power Reactors

Dr Mark Ho.
Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, and
President, Australian Nuclear Association.

Hosted by Australian Institute of Physics and SA Branch of ANA

6:30 pm, Wednesday 11 July 2018.
Kerr Grant Lecture Theatre, Physics Building, University of Adelaide (North Terrace campus).


Nuclear reactors generate 11% of the world’s electricity delivering emissions-free, baseload power. Of the world’s 447 power reactors 83% are LWRs (light-water reactors) that operate in a thermal-neutron energy spectrum where the neutron capture cross-section of Uranium-235 is maximised. Light Water Reactors are a proven technology, with over 50 years of operational experience and remain the design of choice for new builds.

Nuscale SMR – up to 12 power modules (each 60 MWe) and spent fuel pond controlled from one control room

On the 10 year horizon, small modular reactors (SMR) will become available. Essentially a small LWR by design, these SMRs promise to be safer, faster to build and thus cheaper to finance. Their smaller size may also lead to them becoming brownfield replacements for old retiring coal-fired power plants.

In the future, advanced reactors that operate in the fast neutron spectrum will become widely deployed. Using coolants such as sodium, lead or molten-salt, these reactors will operate at a higher temperature, radiation and corrosion environment but with the ability to breed fuel, burn radioactive waste and operate at a higher thermal efficiency. This talk will provide an overview of all reactor developments.

About Mark Ho
Dr Mark Ho works at ANSTO, Lucas Heights, specialising in reactor thermo-hydraulics. He’s interested in reactor design, computational fluid dynamics, coding and boiling dynamics. He has recently returned from a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna on Small Modular Reactors. He is the current President of the Australian Nuclear Association which is an organisation of professional scientists and engineers based in Sydney and with a branch in Adelaide.