Mengenal HTGR, Reaktor Nuklir Generasi IV Terbaik Saat Ini

Reaktor Nuklir dari Generasi ke Generasi. Sumber: nuclear.energy.gov
  • Reaktor nuklir generasi IV, High-Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactor (HTGR) menjanjikan energi bersih dengan kemampuan operasi pada suhu tinggi untuk listrik, hidrogen, dan desalinasi.
  • Tiongkok memimpin pengembangan HTGR dengan proyek pembangkit listrik tenaga nuklir generasi IV pertama di Shidao Bay.
  • Keunggulan utama HTGR terdapat pada penggunaan helium sebagai pendingin dan grafit sebagai moderator. Teknologi tersebut memiliki keamanan yang cukup tinggi sebagai PLTN.

Reaktor nuklir adalah tempat yang digunakan untuk membuat, mengatur, dan menjaga kesinambungan reaksi berantai nuklir yang terkontrol. Berbeda dengan bom nuklir yang reaksi berantainya tidak terkontrol. Reaksi berantai tersebut dimanfaatkan ke dalam reaktor nuklir sebagai pembangkit listrik. Reaktor nuklir digunakan untuk banyak tujuan dan memiliki beberapa jenis generasi. Pada dasarnya, reaktor nuklir bekerja dengan menghasilkan panas dalam jumlah besar melalui proses pemisahan inti atom uranium atau plutonium sebagai bahan bakar. Panas yang dihasilkan dari pembelahan inti digunakan untuk mengubah air menjadi uap panas bertekanan tinggi. Uap panas tersebut kemudian menggerakkan turbin yang memutar generator untuk menghasilkan listrik. Salah satu jenis reaktor nuklir terbaru dalam generasi IV adalah HTGR atau High-Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactor yang dikatakan sebagai jenis reaktor nuklir dengan banyak keunggulan saat ini.

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Pekembangan HTGR Sebagai Reaktor Nuklir Generasi IV

Reaktor nuklir generasi terkini, yang dikenal sebagai High-Temperature Gas-cooled Reactor (HTGR) juga disebut sebagai Very High-Temperature Reactor (VHTR) adalah jenis reaktor generasi IV yang mampu beroperasi pada suhu sangat tinggi dan menggunakan gas sebagai pendingin serta grafit sebagai moderator reaktornya. Selain dianggap lebih aman, reaktor tersebut juga mampu menghasilkan panas yang dapat digunakan dalam industri, misalnya untuk produksi gas hidrogen. 

Tekad kuat untuk mengurangi ketergantungan pada bahan bakar fosil, Tiongkok meluncurkan proyek ambisius untuk mengembangkan teknologi reaktor HTGR sebagai solusi energi berkelanjutan di masa depan. Pembangkit Listrik Tenaga Nuklir (PLTN) generasi IV pertama di dunia secara resmi telah memulai operasi komersial oleh Administrasi Energi Nasional dan China Huaneng Group. Terletak di Shidao Bay, Rongcheng, Provinsi Shandong, proyek ini merupakan hasil kerja sama antara China Huaneng Group, Universitas Tsinghua, dan China National Nuclear Corporation. Tiongkok memiliki kepemilikan penuh terhadap hak kekayaan intelektual untuk PLTN generasi IV ini. Dalam proyek ini, terdapat dua jenis HTGR, yaitu yang menggunakan elemen bakar berbentuk prisma dan yang menggunakan elemen bakar berbentuk bola (Pebble Bed).

Pembangkit Listrik Tenaga Nuklir Teknologi HTGR. Sumber: global.chinadaily.com

Keunggulan Reaktor Nuklir HTGR

Salah satu daya tarik utama dari HTGR adalah kemampuannya menghasilkan suhu yang sangat tinggi. Teknologi reaktor ini dapat diaplikasikan pada beberapa hal, termasuk pembangkit listrik, produksi hidrogen, dan desalinasi air. Fokus utama pada keamanan terwujud dalam desain reaktor yang dirancang untuk meminimalisir risiko kebocoran bahan radioaktif. Salah satu perbedaan utama HTGR dengan reaktor air adalah penggunaan helium sebagai pendingin. Institut Teknologi Nuklir dan Energi Baru Tsinghua menjelaskan bahwa helium sebagai gas inert ideal memiliki sifat kimia yang stabil, tidak mudah bereaksi dengan bahan lain dalam reaktor pada suhu tinggi, dan memiliki sifat termodinamika yang baik. Selain itu, reaktor air ringan dan reaktor air berat menggunakan air dan air berat sebagai moderator untuk memperlambat kecepatan pergerakan neutron dan menjaga reaksi fisi. HTGR menggunakan grafit sebagai moderator karena sifatnya yang tahan pada suhu tinggi.

Reaktor bola kerikil. Sumber: catatanstudi.wordpress.com

Laporan mengenai HTGR China menyatakan bahwa aspek penting dari desain pebble-bed adalah penggunaan elemen bahan bakar nuklir berbentuk bola yang dilapisi dengan keramik tahan panas. Setiap reaktor dimuat dengan lebih dari 400.000 elemen bahan bakar bola (pebble), masing-masing berdiameter 60 mm dan mengandung 7g bahan bakar yang diperkaya hingga 8,5%. Setiap pebble memiliki lapisan luar grafit dan berisi sekitar 12.000 partikel bahan bakar keramik dengan lapis empat yang tersebar dalam matriks grafit. Bahan bakar ini memiliki karakteristik keamanan tinggi dan terbukti tetap utuh serta mampu mengandung radioaktivitas pada suhu hingga 1620°C. Jauh lebih tinggi daripada suhu dalam situasi kecelakaan ekstrem sekalipun. 

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Masa Depan Reaktor Nuklir HTGR di Dunia Energi

Meskipun kemajuan teknologi HTGR menjanjikan, masih terdapat beberapa tantangan yang perlu diatasi, seperti peraturan yang ketat, pemahaman masyarakat, dan aspek ekonomi. Namun, dengan terus berlanjutnya investasi dalam riset dan pengembangan, masa depan reaktor nuklir HTGR dapat menjadi peran kunci dalam peralihan menuju energi yang lebih bersih dan berkelanjutan. Dengan China memimpin dalam pengembangan teknologi ini, keberhasilan proyek di Shidao Bay tidak hanya mencerminkan kemajuan dalam teknologi nuklir, tetapi juga menawarkan harapan akan masa depan energi yang lebih cerah dan berkelanjutan.

Dalam wawancara untuk Laporan Kinerja Tenaga Nuklir Dunia 2022 dari World Nuclear Association, Lu Hua Quan, Ketua Institut Penelitian Nuklir Huaneng Company menjelaskan bahwa HTGR memiliki suhu operasi tertinggi di antara semua jenis reaktor yang ada dan merupakan satu-satunya reaktor yang mampu menyediakan panas dalam proses suhu sangat tinggi. Dia menggarisbawahi potensi ekspor, terutama ke negara dan wilayah di mana sumber daya air tawar terbatas, dan menambahkan bahwa HTGR dapat menjadi sumber panas proses berkualitas tinggi untuk berbagai industri, khususnya ke negara-negara yang diwajibkan untuk membatasi emisi karbon mereka.

#zonaebt #sebarterbarukan #EBTheroes

Editor: Nurika Rizka Salsabila

Referensi:

[1] BRIN. 2023. BRIN – Tsinghua University China Lakukan Kolaborasi Riset Desain Reaktor HTGR. BRIN. https://brin.go.id/news/112524/brin-tsinghua-university-china-lakukan-kolaborasi-riset-desain-reaktor-htgr  

[2] Xinhua. 2023. PLTN Generasi IV Pertama di Dunia Mulai Beroperasi di China. Antara News. https://www.antaranews.com/berita/3859962/pltn-generasi-iv-pertama-di-dunia-mulai-beroperasi-di-china 

[3] Djysrv, V. a. P. B. 2023. China begins commercial operation of 1st HTGR. Neutron Bytes. https://neutronbytes.com/2023/12/10/china-begins-commercial-operation-of-1st-htgr/  

[4] Dewita, Erlan & Alimah. 2017. Analisis Kinerja Bahan Bakar Reaktor Tipe HTGR Sebagai Penghalang Produk Fisi. Jurnal Pengembangan Energi Nuklir, 19(1): 1-9. http://dx.doi.org/10.17146/jpen.2017.19.1.3531

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