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Title: A computational model for molten corium spreading and solidification

Abstract

We report that when the core is breached during a severe nuclear accident, a molten mixture of nuclear fuel, cladding, and structural supports is discharged from the reactor vessel. This molten mixture of ceramic and metal is often referred to as “corium”. Predicting the flow and solidification of corium poses challenges for numerical models due to the presence of large Peclet numbers when convective transport dominates the physics. Here, we utilize a control volume finite-element method (CVEM) discretization to stabilize the advection dominated flow and heat transport. This CVFEM approach is coupled with the conformal decomposition finite-element method (CDFEM), which tracks the corium/air interface on an existing background mesh. CDFEM is a sharp-interface method, allowing the direct discretization of the corium front. This CVFEM-CDFEM approach is used to model the spreading of molten corium in both two- and three-dimensions. The CVFEM approach is briefly motivated in a comparison with a streamwise upwind/Petrov-Galerkin (SUPG) stabilized finite-element method, which was not able to suppress spurious temperature oscillations in the simulations. Finally, our model is compared directly with the FARO L26 corium spreading experiments and with previous numerical simulations, showing both quantitative and qualitative agreement with those studies.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [1];  [2]
  1. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
  2. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-CA), Livermore, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
OSTI Identifier:
1501636
Report Number(s):
SAND-2018-0473J
Journal ID: ISSN 0045-7930; 659998
DOE Contract Number:  
AC04-94AL85000; NA0003525
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Computers and Fluids
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 178; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 0045-7930
Publisher:
Elsevier
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
97 MATHEMATICS AND COMPUTING; 36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; Corium; SUPG; CVFEM; CDFEM; Psuedo-solidification; Nuclear accident

Citation Formats

Kucala, Alec, Rao, Rekha, and Erickson, Lindsay. A computational model for molten corium spreading and solidification. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1016/j.compfluid.2018.11.009.
Kucala, Alec, Rao, Rekha, & Erickson, Lindsay. A computational model for molten corium spreading and solidification. United States. doi:10.1016/j.compfluid.2018.11.009.
Kucala, Alec, Rao, Rekha, and Erickson, Lindsay. Fri . "A computational model for molten corium spreading and solidification". United States. doi:10.1016/j.compfluid.2018.11.009.
@article{osti_1501636,
title = {A computational model for molten corium spreading and solidification},
author = {Kucala, Alec and Rao, Rekha and Erickson, Lindsay},
abstractNote = {We report that when the core is breached during a severe nuclear accident, a molten mixture of nuclear fuel, cladding, and structural supports is discharged from the reactor vessel. This molten mixture of ceramic and metal is often referred to as “corium”. Predicting the flow and solidification of corium poses challenges for numerical models due to the presence of large Peclet numbers when convective transport dominates the physics. Here, we utilize a control volume finite-element method (CVEM) discretization to stabilize the advection dominated flow and heat transport. This CVFEM approach is coupled with the conformal decomposition finite-element method (CDFEM), which tracks the corium/air interface on an existing background mesh. CDFEM is a sharp-interface method, allowing the direct discretization of the corium front. This CVFEM-CDFEM approach is used to model the spreading of molten corium in both two- and three-dimensions. The CVFEM approach is briefly motivated in a comparison with a streamwise upwind/Petrov-Galerkin (SUPG) stabilized finite-element method, which was not able to suppress spurious temperature oscillations in the simulations. Finally, our model is compared directly with the FARO L26 corium spreading experiments and with previous numerical simulations, showing both quantitative and qualitative agreement with those studies.},
doi = {10.1016/j.compfluid.2018.11.009},
journal = {Computers and Fluids},
issn = {0045-7930},
number = C,
volume = 178,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {11}
}