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Rudolf Schulten (16 August 1923 – 27 April 1996)—professor at RWTH Aachen University—was the main developer of the pebble bed reactor design, which was originally invented by Farrington Daniels. Schulten's concept compacts silicon carbide-coated uranium granules into hard, billiard-ball-like graphite spheres to be used as fuel for a new high temperature, helium-cooled type of nuclear reactor. The idea took root and in due course a 46 MW_th (megawatt thermal) experimental pebble bed reactor (the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Versuchsreaktor, or AVR) was built at the Jülich Research Centre in Jülich, West Germany. It operated for 21 years but was shut down in the wake of Chernobyl. Some of the last pebble fuel tested in the AVR was for a low enriched uranium (LEU) fuel cycle anticipated for use in the HTR-MODUL project design by Interatom/SIEMENS.
The technology is currently being developed mainly in China who currently operate a 10 MW test reactor of this type.
- Kirchner, Ulrich: Der Hochtemperaturreaktor - Konflikte, Interessen, Entscheidungen, Campus Verlag, Frankfurt/New York, Campus Forschung Vol. 667, 1991
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