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Title: Development of Safety Analysis Codes and Experimental Validation for a Very High Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactor - FY-05 Annual Report

Abstract

The very high temperature gas-cooled reactors (VHTGRs) are those concepts that have average coolant temperatures above 9000C or operational fuel temperatures above 12500C. These concepts provide the potential for increased energy conversion efficiency and for high-temperature process heat application in addition to power generation and nuclear hydrogen generation. While all the High Temperature Gas Cooled Reactor (HTGR) concepts have sufficiently high temperatures to support process heat applications, such as desalination and cogeneration, the VHTGR’s higher temperatures are suitable for particular applications such as thermochemical hydrogen production. However, the high temperature operation can be detrimental to safety following a loss-of-coolant accident (LOCA) initiated by pipe breaks caused by seismic or other events. Following the loss of coolant through the break and coolant depressurization, air from the containment will enter the core by molecular diffusion and ultimately by natural convection, leading to oxidation of the in-core graphite structures and fuel. The oxidation will release heat and accelerate the heatup of the reactor core. Thus, without any effective countermeasures, a pipe break may lead to significant fuel damage and fission product release. The Idaho National Laboratory (INL) has investigated this event for the past three years for the HTGR. However, the computer codesmore » used, and in fact none of the world’s computer codes, have been sufficiently developed and validated to reliably predict this event. New code development, improvement of the existing codes, and experimental validation are imperative to narrow the uncertainty in the predictions of this type of accident. The objectives of this Korean/United States collaboration are to develop advanced computational methods for VHTGR safety analysis codes and to validate these computer codes.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
Sponsoring Org.:
DOE - NE
OSTI Identifier:
911255
Report Number(s):
INL/EXT-05-00732
TRN: US0704495
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC07-99ID-13727
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
21 - SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS, 99 - GENERAL AND MISCELLANEOUS//MATHEMATICS, COMPUTING, AND INFORMATION SCIENCE; COMPUTER CODES; ENERGY CONVERSION; FISSION PRODUCT RELEASE; GAS COOLED REACTORS; HYDROGEN PRODUCTION; LOSS OF COOLANT; NATURAL CONVECTION; POWER GENERATION; PROCESS HEAT; REACTOR CORES; SAFETY; SAFETY ANALYSIS; VALIDATION; gas-cooled reactor; safety analysis codes; very high temperature

Citation Formats

Chang Oh. Development of Safety Analysis Codes and Experimental Validation for a Very High Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactor - FY-05 Annual Report. United States: N. p., 2005. Web. doi:10.2172/911255.
Chang Oh. Development of Safety Analysis Codes and Experimental Validation for a Very High Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactor - FY-05 Annual Report. United States. doi:10.2172/911255.
Chang Oh. Thu . "Development of Safety Analysis Codes and Experimental Validation for a Very High Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactor - FY-05 Annual Report". United States. doi:10.2172/911255. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/911255.
@article{osti_911255,
title = {Development of Safety Analysis Codes and Experimental Validation for a Very High Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactor - FY-05 Annual Report},
author = {Chang Oh},
abstractNote = {The very high temperature gas-cooled reactors (VHTGRs) are those concepts that have average coolant temperatures above 9000C or operational fuel temperatures above 12500C. These concepts provide the potential for increased energy conversion efficiency and for high-temperature process heat application in addition to power generation and nuclear hydrogen generation. While all the High Temperature Gas Cooled Reactor (HTGR) concepts have sufficiently high temperatures to support process heat applications, such as desalination and cogeneration, the VHTGR’s higher temperatures are suitable for particular applications such as thermochemical hydrogen production. However, the high temperature operation can be detrimental to safety following a loss-of-coolant accident (LOCA) initiated by pipe breaks caused by seismic or other events. Following the loss of coolant through the break and coolant depressurization, air from the containment will enter the core by molecular diffusion and ultimately by natural convection, leading to oxidation of the in-core graphite structures and fuel. The oxidation will release heat and accelerate the heatup of the reactor core. Thus, without any effective countermeasures, a pipe break may lead to significant fuel damage and fission product release. The Idaho National Laboratory (INL) has investigated this event for the past three years for the HTGR. However, the computer codes used, and in fact none of the world’s computer codes, have been sufficiently developed and validated to reliably predict this event. New code development, improvement of the existing codes, and experimental validation are imperative to narrow the uncertainty in the predictions of this type of accident. The objectives of this Korean/United States collaboration are to develop advanced computational methods for VHTGR safety analysis codes and to validate these computer codes.},
doi = {10.2172/911255},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Thu Sep 01 00:00:00 EDT 2005},
month = {Thu Sep 01 00:00:00 EDT 2005}
}

Technical Report:

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  • The very high temperature gas-cooled reactors (VHTGRs) are those concepts that have average coolant temperatures above 900 degrees C or operational fuel temperatures above 1250 degrees C. These concepts provide the potential for increased energy conversion efficiency and for high-temperature process heat application in addition to power generation and nuclear hydrogen generation. While all the High Temperature Gas Cooled Reactor (HTGR) concepts have sufficiently high temperatures to support process heat applications, such as desalination and cogeneration, the VHTGR's higher temperatures are suitable for particular applications such as thermochemical hydrogen production. However, the high temperature operation can be detrimental to safetymore » following a loss-of-coolant accident (LOCA) initiated by pipe breaks caused by seismic or other events. Following the loss of coolant through the break and coolant depressurization, air from the containment will enter the core by molecular diffusion and ultimately by natural convection, leading to oxidation of the in-core graphite structures and fuel. The oxidation will release heat and accelerate the heatup of the reactor core. Thus, without any effective countermeasures, a pipe break may lead to significant fuel damage and fission product release. The Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) has investigated this event for the past three years for the HTGR. However, the computer codes used, and in fact none of the world's computer codes, have been sufficiently developed and validated to reliably predict this event. New code development, improvement of the existing codes, and experimental validation are imperative to narrow the uncertaninty in the predictions of this type of accident. The objectives of this Korean/United States collaboration are to develop advanced computational methods for VHTGR safety analysis codes and to validate these computer codes.« less
  • The very high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (VHTR) is envisioned as a single- or dual-purpose reactor for electricity and hydrogen generation. The concept has average coolant temperatures above 9000C and operational fuel temperatures above 12500C. The concept provides the potential for increased energy conversion efficiency and for high-temperature process heat application in addition to power generation. While all the High Temperature Gas Cooled Reactor (HTGR) concepts have sufficiently high temperature to support process heat applications, such as coal gasification, desalination or cogenerative processes, the VHTR’s higher temperatures allow broader applications, including thermochemical hydrogen production. However, the very high temperatures of this reactormore » concept can be detrimental to safety if a loss-of-coolant accident (LOCA) occurs. Following the loss of coolant through the break and coolant depressurization, air will enter the core through the break by molecular diffusion and ultimately by natural convection, leading to oxidation of the in-core graphite structure and fuel. The oxidation will accelerate heatup of the reactor core and the release of toxic gasses (CO and CO2) and fission products. Thus, without any effective countermeasures, a pipe break may lead to significant fuel damage and fission product release. Prior to the start of this Korean/United States collaboration, no computer codes were available that had been sufficiently developed and validated to reliably simulate a LOCA in the VHTR. Therefore, we have worked for the past three years on developing and validating advanced computational methods for simulating LOCAs in a VHTR. Research Objectives As described above, a pipe break may lead to significant fuel damage and fission product release in the VHTR. The objectives of this Korean/United States collaboration were to develop and validate advanced computational methods for VHTR safety analysis. The methods that have been developed are now available to provide improved understanding of the VHTR during accidents.« less
  • ORNL continues to make significant contributions to the national program. In the HTR fuels area, we are providing detailed statistical information on the fission product retention performance of irradiated fuel. Our studies are also providing basic data on the mechanical, physical, and chemical behavior of HTR materials, including metals, ceramics, graphite, and concrete. The ORNL has an important role in the development of improved HTR graphites and in the specification of criteria that need to be met by commercial products. We are also developing improved reactor physics design methods. Our work in component development and testing centers in the Componentmore » Flow Test Loop (CFTL), which is being used to evaluate the performance of the HTR core support structure. Other work includes experimental evaluation of the shielding effectiveness of the lower portions of an HTR core. This evaluation is being performed at the ORNL Tower Shielding Facility. Researchers at ORNL are developing welding techniques for attaching steam generator tubing to the tubesheets and are testing ceramic pads on which the core posts rest. They are also performing extensive testing of aggregate materials obtained from potential HTR site areas for possible use in prestressed concrete reactor vessels. During the past year we continued to serve as a peer reviewer of small modular reactor designs being developed by GA and GE with balance-of-plant layouts being developed by Bechtel Group, Inc. We have also evaluated the national need for developing HTRs with emphasis on the longer term applications of the HTRs to fossil conversion processes.« less
  • Information is presented concerning HTGR chemistry; fueled graphite development; irradiation services for General Atomic Company; prestressed concrete pressure vessel development; HTGR structural materials; graphite development; high-temperature reactor physics studies; shielding studies; component flow test loop studies; core support performance test; and application and project assessments.