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Title: Development of High Fidelity, Fuel-Like Thermal Simulators for Non-Nuclear Testing

Abstract

Non-nuclear testing can be a valuable tool in the development of a space nuclear power or propulsion system. In a non-nuclear test bed, electric heaters are used to simulate the heat from nuclear fuel. Work at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center seeks to develop high fidelity thermal simulators that not only match the static power profile that would be observed in an operating, fueled nuclear reactor, but also match the dynamic fuel pin performance during feasible transients. Comparison between the fuel pins and thermal simulators is made at the outer fuel clad surface, which corresponds to the outer sheath surface in the thermal simulator. The thermal simulators that are currently being developed are designed to meet the geometric and power requirements of a proposed surface power reactor design, accommodate testing of various axial power profiles, and incorporate imbedded instrumentation. Static and dynamic fuel pin performances for a proposed reactor design have been determined using SINDA/FLUINT thermal analysis software, and initial comparison has been made between the expected nuclear performance and the performance of conceptual thermal simulator designs. Through a series of iterative analysis, a conceptual high fidelity design will be developed, followed by engineering design, fabrication, and testing tomore » validate the overall design process. Although the resulting thermal simulator will be designed for a specific reactor concept, establishing this rigorous design process will assist in streamlining the thermal simulator development for other reactor concepts. This paper presents the current status of high fidelity thermal simulator design relative to a SNAP derivative reactor design that could be applied for Lunar surface power.« less

Authors:
; ; ;  [1];  [2];  [3];  [2]
  1. NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Nuclear Systems Branch/ER24, MSFC, AL 25812 (United States)
  2. Los Alamos National Laboratory, Decision Applications Division, Los Alamos, NM 87545 (United States)
  3. (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
21054559
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: AIP Conference Proceedings; Journal Volume: 880; Journal Issue: 1; Conference: International forum-STAIF 2007: 11. conference on thermophysics applications in microgravity; 24. symposium on space nuclear power and propulsion; 5. conference on human/robotic technology and the vision for space exploration; 5. symposium on space colonization; 4. symposium on new frontiers and future concepts, Albuquerque, NM (United States), 11-15 Feb 2007; Other Information: DOI: 10.1063/1.2437499; (c) 2007 American Institute of Physics; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
22 GENERAL STUDIES OF NUCLEAR REACTORS; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; DESIGN; F CODES; FABRICATION; FISSION; FUEL PINS; ITERATIVE METHODS; NUCLEAR FUELS; PERFORMANCE; POWER REACTORS; POWER SYSTEMS; PROPULSION SYSTEMS; S CODES; SIMULATORS; TESTING; THERMAL ANALYSIS; TRANSIENTS; NESDPS Office of Nuclear Energy Space and Defense Power Systems

Citation Formats

Bragg-Sitton, Shannon M., Dickens, Ricky, Adams, Mike, Davis, Joe, Dixon, David, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, and Kapernick, Richard. Development of High Fidelity, Fuel-Like Thermal Simulators for Non-Nuclear Testing. United States: N. p., 2007. Web. doi:10.1063/1.2437499.
Bragg-Sitton, Shannon M., Dickens, Ricky, Adams, Mike, Davis, Joe, Dixon, David, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, & Kapernick, Richard. Development of High Fidelity, Fuel-Like Thermal Simulators for Non-Nuclear Testing. United States. doi:10.1063/1.2437499.
Bragg-Sitton, Shannon M., Dickens, Ricky, Adams, Mike, Davis, Joe, Dixon, David, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, and Kapernick, Richard. Tue . "Development of High Fidelity, Fuel-Like Thermal Simulators for Non-Nuclear Testing". United States. doi:10.1063/1.2437499.
@article{osti_21054559,
title = {Development of High Fidelity, Fuel-Like Thermal Simulators for Non-Nuclear Testing},
author = {Bragg-Sitton, Shannon M. and Dickens, Ricky and Adams, Mike and Davis, Joe and Dixon, David and North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC and Kapernick, Richard},
abstractNote = {Non-nuclear testing can be a valuable tool in the development of a space nuclear power or propulsion system. In a non-nuclear test bed, electric heaters are used to simulate the heat from nuclear fuel. Work at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center seeks to develop high fidelity thermal simulators that not only match the static power profile that would be observed in an operating, fueled nuclear reactor, but also match the dynamic fuel pin performance during feasible transients. Comparison between the fuel pins and thermal simulators is made at the outer fuel clad surface, which corresponds to the outer sheath surface in the thermal simulator. The thermal simulators that are currently being developed are designed to meet the geometric and power requirements of a proposed surface power reactor design, accommodate testing of various axial power profiles, and incorporate imbedded instrumentation. Static and dynamic fuel pin performances for a proposed reactor design have been determined using SINDA/FLUINT thermal analysis software, and initial comparison has been made between the expected nuclear performance and the performance of conceptual thermal simulator designs. Through a series of iterative analysis, a conceptual high fidelity design will be developed, followed by engineering design, fabrication, and testing to validate the overall design process. Although the resulting thermal simulator will be designed for a specific reactor concept, establishing this rigorous design process will assist in streamlining the thermal simulator development for other reactor concepts. This paper presents the current status of high fidelity thermal simulator design relative to a SNAP derivative reactor design that could be applied for Lunar surface power.},
doi = {10.1063/1.2437499},
journal = {AIP Conference Proceedings},
number = 1,
volume = 880,
place = {United States},
year = {Tue Jan 30 00:00:00 EST 2007},
month = {Tue Jan 30 00:00:00 EST 2007}
}
  • Investigations of the thermodynamic behavior of reactor fuel elements require out-of-pile experiments to be carried out on fuel element mockups made up of electrical heater rods. The results of these experiments depend strongly on the similarity of thermodynamic behavior between heater rods applied and nuclear fuel rods to be simulated. Typical requirements for the heater rods that simulate the nuclear fuel rods of interest are, for example, heat flux density and the associated heat flux density distribution in case of nonuniform coolant conditions and heat capacity. Because of the various modes of heat production in nuclear fuel rods, electrically heatedmore » rods in experiments are able to only partially meet these requirements.« less
  • A thermal analysis evaluation is presented of a nuclear spent fuel dry storage cask. The cask is designed to provide passive cooling of 24 pressurized water reactor (PWR) spent fuel assemblies for a storage period of at least 20 years at a nuclear utility site (independent spent fuel storage installation). A comparison is presented between analytical predictions and experimental results for a demonstration cask. Demonstration testing with nuclear spent fuel assemblies was performed on a cask configuration designed to store 24 intact spent fuel assemblies or canisters containing fuel consolidated from 48 assemblies.
  • Electrical resistance heating is used to simulate nuclear heating in fuel pin simulators that are used in LMFBR thermal hydraulic sodium tests. Thermal uniformity is essential in these simulators to ensure that data obtained with them is meaningful. Mechanical integrity of the units is also important for timely and economical completion of the thermal hydraulic tests. An infrared line scanner is used as part of a testing system that is routinely applied to assure the quality of LMFBR fuel pin simulators used in tests at the Hanford Engineering Development Laboratory. Typical defects that can be detected by this system include:more » 1) regions of abnormal density in the heater core-to-clad insulator, 2) displacement of the heater core away from center, 3) flaws or thinning in the heater core that would cause localized abnormal heat production, 4) thinning and some other types of cladding flaws, and 5) defects in the braze joint between the copper cold ends'' and the nichrome core. Thermal analyses, destructive analyses, and improved performance of the simulators have shown that the infrared nondestructive test results are valid. (auth)« less
  • Sandia National Laboratories, as a Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Agency, has major responsibility to ensure the safety and security needs of nuclear weapons. As such, with an experienced research staff, Sandia maintains a spectrum of modeling and simulation capabilities integrated with experimental and large-scale test capabilities. This expertise and these capabilities offer considerable resources for addressing issues of interest to the space power and propulsion communities. This paper presents Sandia's capability to perform thermal qualification (analysis, test, modeling and simulation) using a representative weapon system as an example demonstrating the potential to support NASA's Lunar Reactor System.