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AGR – Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor

An advanced gas-cooled reactor (AGR) is a British design of nuclear reactor. AGRs are using graphite as the neutron moderator and carbon dioxide as coolant.

AGRs were developed from the Magnox type reactor.These are the second generation of British gas-cooled reactors. AGRs are operating at a higher gas temperature for improved thermal efficiency, thus requires stainless steel fuel cladding to withstand the higher temperature. Because the stainless steel fuel cladding has a higher neutron capture cross section than Magnox fuel (magnesium non-oxidising alloy), low enriched uranium fuel is needed.

The fuel is uranium oxide pellets, enriched to 2.5-3.5%, in stainless steel tubes. The carbon dioxide circulates through the core, reaching 650°C (for improved thermal efficiency) and then past steam generator tubes outside it, but still inside the concrete and steel pressure vessel (hence ‘integral’ design). Control rods penetrate the moderator and a secondary shutdown system involves injecting nitrogen to the coolant.

AGR - Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor
AGR – Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor
Source: www.hknuclear.com