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Title: Thermal-Hydraulic Performance of the TREAT Multi-SERTTA for Reactivity Initiated Accident Experiments

Abstract

Experimental testing in the Multi-Static Environment Rodlet Transient Test Apparatus (SERTTA) will lead the rebirth of transient fuel testing in the United States as part of the Accident Tolerant Fuels (ATF) progam. The Multi-SERTTA is comprised of four isolated pressurized environments capable of a wide variety of working fluids and thermal conditions. Ultimately, the TREAT reactor as well as the Multi-SERTTA test vehicle serve the purpose of providing desired thermal-hydraulic boundary conditions to the test specimen. The initial ATF testing in TREAT will focus on reactivity insertion accident (RIA) events using both gas and water environments including typical PWR operating pressures and temperatures. For the water test environment, a test configuration is envisioned using the expansion tank as part of the gas-filled expansion volume seen by the test to provide additional pressure relief. The heat transfer conditions during the high energy power pulses of RIA events remains a subject of large uncertainty and great importance for fuel performance predictions. To support transient experiments, the Multi-SERTTA vehicle has been modeled using RELAP5 with a baseline test specimen composed of UO2 fuel in zircaloy cladding. The modeling results show the influence of the designs of the specimen, vehicle, and transient power pulses.more » The primary purpose of this work is to provide input and boundary conditions to fuel performance code BISON. Therefore, studies of parameters having influence on specimen performance during RIA transients are presented including cladding oxidation, power pulse magnitude and width, cladding-to-coolant heat fluxes, fuel-to-cladding gap, transient boiling effects (modified CHF values), etc. The results show the great flexibility and capacity of the TREAT Multi-SERTTA test vehicle to provide testing under a wide range of prototypic thermal-hydraulic conditions as never done before.« less

Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
OSTI Identifier:
1367788
Report Number(s):
INL/CON-16-37612
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC07-05ID14517
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: Top Fuel 2016, Boise, ID, USA, September 11–16, 2016
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; RIA; thermal hydraulics; transient testing; TREAT

Citation Formats

Jensen, Colby B., Folsom, Charles P., Davis, Cliff B., Woolstenhulme, Nicolas E., Bess, John D., O'Brien, Robert C., Ban, Heng, and Wachs, Daniel M. Thermal-Hydraulic Performance of the TREAT Multi-SERTTA for Reactivity Initiated Accident Experiments. United States: N. p., 2016. Web.
Jensen, Colby B., Folsom, Charles P., Davis, Cliff B., Woolstenhulme, Nicolas E., Bess, John D., O'Brien, Robert C., Ban, Heng, & Wachs, Daniel M. Thermal-Hydraulic Performance of the TREAT Multi-SERTTA for Reactivity Initiated Accident Experiments. United States.
Jensen, Colby B., Folsom, Charles P., Davis, Cliff B., Woolstenhulme, Nicolas E., Bess, John D., O'Brien, Robert C., Ban, Heng, and Wachs, Daniel M. 2016. "Thermal-Hydraulic Performance of the TREAT Multi-SERTTA for Reactivity Initiated Accident Experiments". United States. doi:. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1367788.
@article{osti_1367788,
title = {Thermal-Hydraulic Performance of the TREAT Multi-SERTTA for Reactivity Initiated Accident Experiments},
author = {Jensen, Colby B. and Folsom, Charles P. and Davis, Cliff B. and Woolstenhulme, Nicolas E. and Bess, John D. and O'Brien, Robert C. and Ban, Heng and Wachs, Daniel M.},
abstractNote = {Experimental testing in the Multi-Static Environment Rodlet Transient Test Apparatus (SERTTA) will lead the rebirth of transient fuel testing in the United States as part of the Accident Tolerant Fuels (ATF) progam. The Multi-SERTTA is comprised of four isolated pressurized environments capable of a wide variety of working fluids and thermal conditions. Ultimately, the TREAT reactor as well as the Multi-SERTTA test vehicle serve the purpose of providing desired thermal-hydraulic boundary conditions to the test specimen. The initial ATF testing in TREAT will focus on reactivity insertion accident (RIA) events using both gas and water environments including typical PWR operating pressures and temperatures. For the water test environment, a test configuration is envisioned using the expansion tank as part of the gas-filled expansion volume seen by the test to provide additional pressure relief. The heat transfer conditions during the high energy power pulses of RIA events remains a subject of large uncertainty and great importance for fuel performance predictions. To support transient experiments, the Multi-SERTTA vehicle has been modeled using RELAP5 with a baseline test specimen composed of UO2 fuel in zircaloy cladding. The modeling results show the influence of the designs of the specimen, vehicle, and transient power pulses. The primary purpose of this work is to provide input and boundary conditions to fuel performance code BISON. Therefore, studies of parameters having influence on specimen performance during RIA transients are presented including cladding oxidation, power pulse magnitude and width, cladding-to-coolant heat fluxes, fuel-to-cladding gap, transient boiling effects (modified CHF values), etc. The results show the great flexibility and capacity of the TREAT Multi-SERTTA test vehicle to provide testing under a wide range of prototypic thermal-hydraulic conditions as never done before.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2016,
month = 8
}

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  • Experiment vehicle design is necessary in preparation for Transient Reactor Test (TREAT) facility restart and the resumption of transient testing to support Accident Tolerant Fuel (ATF) characterization and other future fuels testing requirements. Currently the most mature vehicle design is the Multi-SERTTA (Static Environments Rodlet Transient Test Apparatuses), which can accommodate up to four concurrent rodlet-sized specimens under separate environmental conditions. Robust test vehicle design requires neutronics analyses to support design development, optimization of the power coupling factor (PCF) to efficiently maximize energy generation in the test fuel rodlets, and experiment safety analyses. Calculations were performed to support analysis ofmore » a near-final design of the Multi-SERTTA vehicle, the design process for future TREAT test vehicles, and establish analytical practices for upcoming transient test experiments. Models of the Multi-SERTTA vehicle containing typical PWR-fuel rodlets were prepared and neutronics calculations were performed using MCNP6.1 with ENDF/B-VII.1 nuclear data libraries. Calculation of the PCF for reference conditions of a PWR fuel rodlet in clean water at operational temperature and pressure provided results between 1.10 and 1.74 W/g-MW depending on the location of the four Multi-SERTTA units with the stack. Basic changes to the Multi-SERTTA secondary vessel containment and support have minimal impact on PCF; using materials with less neutron absorption can improve expected PCF values, especially in the primary containment. An optimized balance is needed between structural integrity, experiment safety, and energy deposition in the experiment. Type of medium and environmental conditions within the primary vessel surrounding the fuel rodlet can also have a significant impact on resultant PCF values. The estimated reactivity insertion worth into the TREAT core is impacted more by the primary and secondary Multi-SERTTA vehicle structure with the experiment content and contained environment having a near negligible impact on overall system reactivity. Additional calculations were performed to evaluate the peak-to-average assembly powers throughout the TREAT core, as well as the nuclear heat generation for the various structural components of the Multi-SERTTA assembly. Future efforts include the evaluation of flux collars to shape the PCF for individual Multi-SERTTA units during an experiment such as to achieve uniformity in test unit environmental conditions impacted by the non-uniform axial flux/power profile of TREAT. Upon resumption of transient testing, experimental results from both the Multi-SERTTA and Multi-SERTTA-CAL will be compared against calculational results and methods for further optimization and design strategies.« less
  • Experiment vehicle design is necessary in preparation for Transient Reactor Test (TREAT) facility restart and the resumption of transient testing to support Accident Tolerant Fuel (ATF) characterization and other future fuels testing requirements. Currently the most mature vehicle design is the Multi-SERTTA (Static Environments Rodlet Transient Test Apparatuses), which can accommodate up to four concurrent rodlet-sized specimens under separate environmental conditions. Robust test vehicle design requires neutronics analyses to support design development, optimization of the power coupling factor (PCF) to efficiently maximize energy generation in the test fuel rodlets, and experiment safety analyses. In integral aspect of prior TREAT transientmore » testing was the incorporation of calibration experiments to experimentally evaluate and validate test conditions in preparation of the actual fuel testing. The calibration experiment package established the test parameter conditions to support fine-tuning of the computational models to deliver the required energy deposition to the fuel samples. The calibration vehicle was designed to be as near neutronically equivalent to the experiment vehicle as possible to minimize errors between the calibration and final tests. The Multi-SERTTA-CAL vehicle was designed to serve as the calibration vehicle supporting Multi-SERTTA experimentation. Models of the Multi-SERTTA-CAL vehicle containing typical PWR-fuel rodlets were prepared and neutronics calculations were performed using MCNP6.1 with ENDF/B-VII.1 nuclear data libraries; these results were then compared against those performed for Multi-SERTTA to determine the similarity and possible design modification necessary prior to construction of these experiment vehicles. The estimated reactivity insertion worth into the TREAT core is very similar between the two vehicle designs, with the primary physical difference being a hollow Inconel tube running down the length of the calibration vehicle. Calculations of PCF indicate that on average there is a reduction of approximately 6.3 and 12.6%, respectively, for PWR fuel rodlets irradiated under wet and dry conditions. Changes to the primary or secondary vessel structure in the calibration vehicle can be performed to offset this discrepancy and maintain neutronic equivalency. Current possible modifications to the calibration vehicle include reduction of the primary vessel wall thickness, swapping Zircaloy-4 for stainless steel 316 in the secondary containment, or slight modification to the temperature and pressure of the water environment within the primary vessel. Removal of some of the instrumentation within the calibration vehicle can also serve to slightly increase the PCF. Future efforts include further modification and optimization of the Multi-SERTTA and Multi-SERTTA-CAL designs in preparation of actual TREAT transient testing. Experimental results from both test vehicles will be compared against calculational results and methods to provide validation and support additional neutronics analyses.« less
  • In the Nuclear Safety Research Reactor (NSRR) owned and operated by the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute (JAERI), extensive experimental studies on the fuel behavior under reactivity-initiated accident (RIA) conditions have been executed since the start of the test program in 1975. Accumulated experimental data were used as the fundamental data base for the safety evaluation guideline concerning reactivity-initiated events (RIEs) in light water cooled nuclear power plants established by the nuclear safety commission in 1984.
  • In conjunction with the restart of the TREAT reactor and the design of test vehicles, modeling and simulation efforts are being used to model the response of Accident Tolerant Fuel (ATF) concepts under reactivity insertion accident (RIA) conditions. The purpose of this work is to model a baseline case of a 10 cm long UO2-Zircaloy fuel rodlet using BISON and RELAP5 over a range of energy depositions and with varying reactor power pulse widths. The results show the effect of varying the pulse width and energy deposition on both thermal and mechanical parameters that are important for predicting failure ofmore » the fuel rodlet. The combined BISON/RELAP5 model captures coupled thermal and mechanical effects on the fuel-to-cladding gap conductance, cladding-to-coolant heat transfer coefficient and water temperature and pressure that would not be capable in each code individually. These combined effects allow for a more accurate modeling of the thermal and mechanical response in the fuel rodlet and thermal-hydraulics of the test vehicle.« less
  • Experimental results from six recent Power Burst Facility (PBF) reactivity initiated accident (RIA) tests are compared with data from previous Special Power Excursion Reactor Test (SPERT), and Japanese Nuclear Safety Research Reactor (NSRR) tests. The RIA fuel behavior experimental program recently started in the PBF is being conducted with coolant conditions typical of hot-startup conditions in a commercial boiling water reactor. The SPERT and NSRR test programs investigated the behavior of single or small clusters of light water reactor (LWR) type fuel rods under approximate room temperature and atmospheric pressure conditions in capsules containing stagnant water. As observed in themore » SPERT and NSRR tests, energy deposition, and consequent enthalpy increase in the PBF test fuel, appears to be the single most important variable. However, the consequences of failure at boiling water hot-startup system conditions appear to be more severe than previously observed in either the stagnant capsule SPERT or NSRR tests. Metallographic examination of both previously unirradiated and irradiated PBF fuel rod cross sections revealed extensive variation in cladding wall thicknesses (involving considerable plastic flow) and fuel shattering along grain boundaries in both restructured and unrestructured fuel regions. Oxidation of the cladding resulted in fracture at the location of cladding thinning and disintegration of the rods during quench. In addition,swelling of the gaseous and potentially volatile fission products in previously irradiated fuel resulted in volume increases of up to 180% and blockage of the coolant channels within the flow shrouds surrounding the fuel rods.« less