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Title: CFD analysis for the applicability of the natural convection shutdown heat removal test facility (NSTF) for the simulation of the VHTR RCCS. Topical report.

Abstract

The Very High Temperature gas cooled reactor (VHTR) is one of the GEN IV reactor concepts that have been proposed for thermochemical hydrogen production and other process-heat applications like coal gasification. The USDOE has selected the VHTR for further research and development, aiming to demonstrate emissions-free electricity and hydrogen production at a future time. One of the major safety advantages of the VHTR is the potential for passive decay heat removal by natural circulation of air in a Reactor Cavity Cooling System (RCCS). The air-side of the RCCS is very similar to the Reactor Vessel Auxiliary Cooling System (RVACS) that has been proposed for the PRISM reactor design. The design and safety analysis of the RVACS have been based on extensive analytical and experimental work performed at ANL. The Natural Convective Shutdown Heat Removal Test Facility (NSTF) at ANL that simulates at full scale the air-side of the RVACS was built to provide experimental support for the design and analysis of the PRISM RVACS system. The objective of this work is to demonstrate that the NSTF facility can be used to generate RCCS experimental data: to validate CFD and systems codes for the analysis of the RCCS; and to supportmore » the design and safety analysis of the RCCS.« less

Authors:
;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
NE
OSTI Identifier:
925350
Report Number(s):
ANL-GENIV-055
TRN: US0802456
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC02-06CH11357
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
ENGLISH
Subject:
01 COAL, LIGNITE, AND PEAT; 08 HYDROGEN; 21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; AFTER-HEAT REMOVAL; COAL GASIFICATION; COOLING SYSTEMS; DESIGN; ELECTRICITY; GAS COOLED REACTORS; HYDROGEN PRODUCTION; NATURAL CONVECTION; PRISMS; PROCESS HEAT; REACTOR VESSELS; REMOVAL; SAFETY; SAFETY ANALYSIS; SHUTDOWN; SIMULATION

Citation Formats

Tzanos, C. P., and Nuclear Engineering Division. CFD analysis for the applicability of the natural convection shutdown heat removal test facility (NSTF) for the simulation of the VHTR RCCS. Topical report.. United States: N. p., 2007. Web. doi:10.2172/925350.
Tzanos, C. P., & Nuclear Engineering Division. CFD analysis for the applicability of the natural convection shutdown heat removal test facility (NSTF) for the simulation of the VHTR RCCS. Topical report.. United States. doi:10.2172/925350.
Tzanos, C. P., and Nuclear Engineering Division. Wed . "CFD analysis for the applicability of the natural convection shutdown heat removal test facility (NSTF) for the simulation of the VHTR RCCS. Topical report.". United States. doi:10.2172/925350. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/925350.
@article{osti_925350,
title = {CFD analysis for the applicability of the natural convection shutdown heat removal test facility (NSTF) for the simulation of the VHTR RCCS. Topical report.},
author = {Tzanos, C. P. and Nuclear Engineering Division},
abstractNote = {The Very High Temperature gas cooled reactor (VHTR) is one of the GEN IV reactor concepts that have been proposed for thermochemical hydrogen production and other process-heat applications like coal gasification. The USDOE has selected the VHTR for further research and development, aiming to demonstrate emissions-free electricity and hydrogen production at a future time. One of the major safety advantages of the VHTR is the potential for passive decay heat removal by natural circulation of air in a Reactor Cavity Cooling System (RCCS). The air-side of the RCCS is very similar to the Reactor Vessel Auxiliary Cooling System (RVACS) that has been proposed for the PRISM reactor design. The design and safety analysis of the RVACS have been based on extensive analytical and experimental work performed at ANL. The Natural Convective Shutdown Heat Removal Test Facility (NSTF) at ANL that simulates at full scale the air-side of the RVACS was built to provide experimental support for the design and analysis of the PRISM RVACS system. The objective of this work is to demonstrate that the NSTF facility can be used to generate RCCS experimental data: to validate CFD and systems codes for the analysis of the RCCS; and to support the design and safety analysis of the RCCS.},
doi = {10.2172/925350},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Wed May 16 00:00:00 EDT 2007},
month = {Wed May 16 00:00:00 EDT 2007}
}

Technical Report:

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  • The Very High Temperature gas cooled reactor (VHTR) is one of the GEN IV reactor concepts that have been proposed for thermochemical hydrogen production and other process-heat applications like coal gasification. The United States Department of Energy has selected the VHTR for further research and development, aiming to demonstrate emissions-free electricity and hydrogen production at a future time. One of the major safety advantages of the VHTR is the potential for passive decay heat removal by natural circulation of air in a Reactor Cavity Cooling System (RCCS). The air-side of the RCCS is very similar to the Reactor Vessel Auxiliarymore » Cooling System (RVACS) that has been proposed for the PRISM reactor design. The design and safety analysis of the RVACS have been based on extensive analytical and experimental work performed at ANL. The Natural Convection Shutdown Heat Removal Test Facility (NSTF) at ANL that simulates at full scale the air-side of the RVACS was built to provide experimental support for the design and analysis of the PRISM RVACS system. The objective of this work is to demonstrate that the NSTF facility can be used to generate RCCS experimental data: to validate CFD and systems codes for the analysis of the RCCS; and to support the design and safety analysis of the RCCS. At this time no reference design is available for the NGNP. The General Atomics (GA) gas turbine - modular helium reactor (GT-MHR) has been used in many analyses as a starting reference design. In the GT-MHR the reactor outlet temperature is 850 C, while the target outlet reactor temperature in VHTR is 1000 C. VHTR scoping studies with a reactor outlet temperature of 1000 C have been performed at GA and INEL. Although the reactor outlet temperature in the VHTR is significantly higher than in the GT-MHR, the peak temperature in the reactor vessel (which is the heat source for the RCCS) is not drastically different. In this work, analyses have been performed using reactor vessel temperatures from the GT-MHR design, and the VHTR scoping studies. To demonstrate the applicability of the NSTF facility for full scale simulation of the RCCS the following approach was used. CFD analyses were performed of the RCCS and of its simulation at NSTF to demonstrate that: all significant fluid flow and heat transfer phenomena in the RCCS can be simulated at NSTF; and RCCS simulations at NSTF can cover the whole range of variation of the parameters describing these important phenomena in the RCCS. In CFD analyses, the simulation of turbulence is one of the most significant challenges. Direct Numerical Simulation (DNS) and Large Eddy Simulation (LES) of turbulence in large scale systems require excessive computational resources. The use of the Low-Re number k-{var_epsilon} model, which resolves the boundary layer, is computationally expensive in studies where many simulations have to be performed. In Ref. 2 it was shown that in the RCCS, heat transfer coefficient predictions of the high-Re number k-{var_epsilon} model are closer to those of the low-Re number model than those of heat transfer correlations. In this work, the standard high-Re number k-{var_epsilon} was used to simulate turbulence, and all analyses were performed with the CFD code STARCD.« less
  • In summary, a scaling analysis of a water-cooled Reactor Cavity Cooling System (RCCS) system was performed based on generic information on the RCCS design of PBMR. The analysis demonstrates that the water-cooled RCCS can be simulated at the ANL NSTF facility at a prototypic scale in the lateral direction and about half scale in the vertical direction. Because, by necessity, the scaling is based on a number of approximations, and because no analytical information is available on the performance of a reference water-cooled RCCS, the scaling analysis presented here needs to be 'validated' by analysis of the steady state andmore » transient performance of a reference water-cooled RCCS design. The analysis of the RCCS performance by CFD and system codes presents a number of challenges including: strong 3-D effects in the cavity and the RCCS tubes; simulation of turbulence in flows characterized by natural circulation, high Rayleigh numbers and low Reynolds numbers; validity of heat transfer correlations for system codes for heat transfer in the cavity and the annulus of the RCCS tubes; the potential of nucleate boiling in the tubes; water flashing in the upper section of the RCCS return line (during limiting transient); and two-phase flow phenomena in the water tanks. The limited simulation of heat transfer in cavities presented in Section 4.0, strongly underscores the need of experimental work to validate CFD codes, and heat transfer correlations for system codes, and to support the analysis and design of the RCCS. Based on the conclusions of the scaling analysis, a schematic that illustrates key attributes of the experiment system is shown in Fig. 4. This system contains the same physical elements as the PBMR RCCS, plus additional equipment to facilitate data gathering to support code validation. In particular, the prototype consists of a series of oval standpipes surrounding the reactor vessel to provide cooling of the reactor cavity during both normal and off-normal operating conditions. The standpipes are headered (in groups of four in the prototype) to water supply (header) tanks that are situated well above the reactor vessel to facilitate natural convection cooling during a loss of forced flow event. During normal operations, the water is pumped from a heat sink located outside the containment to the headered inlets to the standpipes. The water is then delivered to each standpipe through a centrally located downcomer that passes the coolant to the bottom of each pipe. The water then turns 180{sup o} and rises up through the annular gap while extracting heat from the reactor cavity due to a combination of natural convection and radiation across the gap between the reactor vessel and standpipes. The water exits the standpipes at the top where it is headered (again in groups of four) into a return line that passes the coolant to the top of the header tank. Coolant is drawn from each tank through a fitting located near the top of the tank where it flows to the heat rejection system located outside the containment. This completes the flow circuit for normal operations. During off-normal conditions, forced convection water cooling in the RCCS is presumed to be lost, as well as the ultimate heat sink outside the containment. In this case, water is passively drawn from an open line located at the bottom of the header tank. This line is orificed so that flow bypass during normal operations is small, yet the line is large enough to provide adequate flow during passive operations to remove decay heat while maintaining acceptable fuel temperatures. In the passive operating mode, water flows by natural convection from the bottom of the supply tank to the standpipes, and returns through the normal pathway to the top of the tanks. After the water reaches saturation and boiling commences, steam will pass through the top of the tanks and be vented to atmosphere. In the experiment system shown in Fig. 4, a steam condensation and collection system is included to quantify the boiling rate, thereby providing additional validation data. This system does not exist in the prototype. The first part of the report presents the non-dimensional conservation equations describing the response of the water-based RCCS during steady-state and transient operations. These equations are used to develop similarity relationships that define a scaling of the NSTF that minimizes distortions between scaled experiments and prototype operation. Then, some limited simulations of heat transfer in cavities are presented that strongly underscore the need of experimental work to validate CFD codes, and heat transfer correlations for system codes, and to support the analysis and design of the RCCS. Finally, a summary is provided of the NSTF modifications needed to conduct scaled simulations of the RCCS.« less
  • Passive safety in the Very High Temperature Reactor (VHTR) is strongly dependent on the thermal performance of the Reactor Cavity Cooling System (RCCS). Scaled experiments performed in the Natural Shutdown Test Facility (NSTF) are to provide data for assessing and/or improving computer code models for RCCS phenomena. Design studies and safety analyses that are to support licensing of the VHTR will rely on these models to achieve a high degree of certainty in predicted design heat removal rate. To guide in the selection and development of an appropriate set of experiments a scaling analysis has been performed for the air-cooledmore » RCCS option. The goals were to (1) determine the phenomena that dominate the behavior of the RCCS, (2) determine the general conditions that must be met so that these phenomena and their relative importance are preserved in the experiments, (3) identify constraints specific to the NSTF that potentially might prevent exact similitude, and (4) then to indicate how the experiments can be scaled to prevent distortions in the phenomena of interest. The phenomena identified as important to RCCS operation were also the subject of a recent PIRT study. That work and the present work collectively indicate that the main phenomena influencing RCCS heat removal capability are (1) radiation heat transport from the vessel to the air ducts, (2) the integral effects of momentum and heat transfer in the air duct, (3) buoyancy at the wall inside the air duct giving rise to mixed convection, and (4) multidimensional effects inside the air duct caused by non-uniform circumferential heat flux and non-circular geometry.« less
  • As part of the Department of Energy (DOE) Generation IV roadmapping activity, the Very High Temperature gas cooled Reactor (VHTR) has been selected as the principal concept for hydrogen production and other process-heat applications such as district heating and potable water production. On this basis, the DOE has selected the VHTR for additional R&D with the ultimate goal of demonstrating emission-free electricity and hydrogen production with this advanced reactor concept. One of the key passive safety features of the VHTR is the potential for decay heat removal by natural circulation of air in a Reactor Cavity Cooling System (RCCS). Themore » air-cooled RCCS concept is notably similar to the Reactor Vessel Auxiliary Cooling System (RVACS) that was developed for the General Electric PRISM sodium-cooled fast reactor. As part of the DOE R&D program that supported the development of this fast reactor concept, the Natural Convection Shutdown Heat Removal Test Facility (NSTF) was developed at ANL to provide proof-of-concept data for the RVACS under prototypic natural convection flow, temperature, and heat flux conditions. Due to the similarity between RVACS and the RCCS, current VHTR R&D plans call for the utilization of the NSTF to provide RCCS model development and validation data, in addition to supporting design validation and optimization activities. Both air-cooled and water-cooled RCCS designs are to be included. In support of this effort, ANL has been tasked with the development of an engineering plan for mechanical and instrumentation modifications to NSTF to ensure that sufficiently detailed temperature, heat flux, velocity and turbulence profiles are obtained to adequately qualify the codes under the expected range of air-cooled RCCS flow conditions. Next year, similar work will be carried out for the alternative option of a water-cooled RCCS design. Analysis activities carried out in support of this experiment planning task have shown that: (a) in the RCCS, strong 3-D effects result in large heat flux, temperature, and heat transfer variations around the tube wall; (b) there is a large difference in the heat transfer coefficient predicted by turbulence models and heat transfer correlations, and this underscores the need of experimental work to validate the thermal performance of the RCCS; and (c) tests at the NSTF would embody all important fluid flow and heat transfer phenomena in the RCCS, in addition to covering the entire parameter ranges that characterize these phenomena. Additional supporting scaling study results are available in Reference 2. The purpose of this work is to develop a high-level engineering plan for mechanical and instrumentation modifications to NSTF in order to meet the following two technical objectives: (1) provide CFD and system-level code development and validation data for the RCCS under prototypic (full-scale) natural convection flow conditions, and (2) support RCCS design validation and optimization. As background for this work, the report begins by providing a summary of the original NSTF design and operational capabilities. Since the facility has not been actively utilized since the early 1990's, the next step is to assess the current facility status. With this background material in place, the data needs and requirements for the facility are then defined on the basis of supporting analysis activities. With the requirements for the facility established, appropriate mechanical and instrumentation modifications to NSTF are then developed in order to meet the overall project objectives. A cost and schedule for modifying the facility to satisfy the RCCS data needs is then provided.« less
  • The Natural convection Shutdown heat removal Test Facility (NSTF) is a large scale thermal hydraulics test facility that has been built at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL). The facility was constructed in order to carry out highly instrumented experiments that can be used to validate the performance of passive safety systems for advanced reactor designs. The facility has principally been designed for testing of Reactor Cavity Cooling System (RCCS) concepts that rely on natural convection cooling for either air or water-based systems. Standing 25-m in height, the facility is able to supply up to 220 kW at 21 kW/m 2 tomore » accurately simulate the heat fluxes at the walls of a reactor pressure vessel. A suite of nearly 400 data acquisition channels, including a sophisticated fiber optic system for high density temperature measurements, guides test operations and provides data to support scaling analysis and modeling efforts. Measurements of system mass flow rate, air and surface temperatures, heat flux, humidity, and pressure differentials, among others; are part of this total generated data set. The following report provides an introduction to the top level-objectives of the program related to passively safe decay heat removal, a detailed description of the engineering specifications, design features, and dimensions of the test facility at Argonne. Specifications of the sensors and their placement on the test facility will be provided, along with a complete channel listing of the data acquisition system.« less