Exelon Generation, operator of the largest number of nuclear electric generating plants (17) in the U.S., is in the early stages of establishing a basis for Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) certification of a new-technology nuclear system called “pebble bed modular reactor.” The new concept employs nuclear material encased in 2.4-in. (6-cm) ceramic “pebbles” held in a container typically 66-ft. (20 m) high by 19.7-ft. (6 m) in diameter. Compressed helium gas at 932°F (500°C) is forced ...

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