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Title: Development of safety analysis codes and experimental validation for a very high temperature gas-cooled reactor Final report

Abstract

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 reactor 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 codesmore » 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

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
911270
Report Number(s):
INL/EXT-06-01362
TRN: US0704502
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; COAL GASIFICATION; COMPUTER CODES; ENERGY CONVERSION; FISSION PRODUCT RELEASE; FISSION PRODUCTS; GAS COOLED REACTORS; HYDROGEN PRODUCTION; LOSS OF COOLANT; NATURAL CONVECTION; POWER GENERATION; PROCESS HEAT; REACTOR CORES; SAFETY; SAFETY ANALYSIS; VALIDATION; codes; gas-cooled reactor; safety; Very high temperature

Citation Formats

Chang Oh. Development of safety analysis codes and experimental validation for a very high temperature gas-cooled reactor Final report. United States: N. p., 2006. Web. doi:10.2172/911270.
Chang Oh. Development of safety analysis codes and experimental validation for a very high temperature gas-cooled reactor Final report. United States. doi:10.2172/911270.
Chang Oh. Wed . "Development of safety analysis codes and experimental validation for a very high temperature gas-cooled reactor Final report". United States. doi:10.2172/911270. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/911270.
@article{osti_911270,
title = {Development of safety analysis codes and experimental validation for a very high temperature gas-cooled reactor Final report},
author = {Chang Oh},
abstractNote = {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 reactor 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.},
doi = {10.2172/911270},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Wed Mar 01 00:00:00 EST 2006},
month = {Wed Mar 01 00:00:00 EST 2006}
}

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 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 accidentmore » (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.« less
  • The Reactor Cavity Cooling Systems (RCCS) is a passive safety system that will be incorporated in the VTHR design. The system was designed to remove the heat from the reactor cavity and maintain the temperature of structures and concrete walls under desired limits during normal operation (steady-state) and accident scenarios. A small scale (1:23) water-cooled experimental facility was scaled, designed, and constructed in order to study the complex thermohydraulic phenomena taking place in the RCCS during steady-state and transient conditions. The facility represents a portion of the reactor vessel with nine stainless steel coolant risers and utilizes water as coolant.more » The facility was equipped with instrumentation to measure temperatures and flow rates and a general verification was completed during the shakedown. A model of the experimental facility was prepared using RELAP5-3D and simulations were performed to validate the scaling procedure. The experimental data produced during the steady-state run were compared with the simulation results obtained using RELAP5-3D. The overall behavior of the facility met the expectations. The facility capabilities were confirmed to be very promising in performing additional experimental tests, including flow visualization, and produce data for code validation.« less
  • The detail design and analytical results of a study of several concepts of replaceable, fibrous insulation thermal barriers for the High-Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactor are presented and discussed. The two most favored concepts were evaluated in greater depth and were compared in preliminary thermal, structural, and cost analyses. The basis and essentials of replaceability rationale and various options are also briefly considered.