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Title: Melt spreading code assessment, modifications, and application to the EPR core catcher design.

Abstract

The Evolutionary Power Reactor (EPR) is under consideration by various utilities in the United States to provide base load electrical production, and as a result the design is undergoing a certification review by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The severe accident design philosophy for this reactor is based upon the fact that the projected power rating results in a narrow margin for in-vessel melt retention by external cooling of the reactor vessel. As a result, the design addresses ex-vessel core melt stabilization using a mitigation strategy that includes: (1) an external core melt retention system to temporarily hold core melt released from the vessel; (2) a layer of 'sacrificial' material that is admixed with the melt while in the core melt retention system; (3) a melt plug in the lower part of the retention system that, when failed, provides a pathway for the mixture to spread to a large core spreading chamber; and finally, (4) cooling and stabilization of the spread melt by controlled top and bottom flooding. The overall concept is illustrated in Figure 1.1. The melt spreading process relies heavily on inertial flow of a low-viscosity admixed melt to a segmented spreading chamber, and assumes that themore » melt mass will be distributed to a uniform height in the chamber. The spreading phenomenon thus needs to be modeled properly in order to adequately assess the EPR design. The MELTSPREAD code, developed at Argonne National Laboratory, can model segmented, and both uniform and nonuniform spreading. The NRC is thus utilizing MELTSPREAD to evaluate melt spreading in the EPR design. MELTSPREAD was originally developed to support resolution of the Mark I containment shell vulnerability issue. Following closure of this issue, development of MELTSPREAD ceased in the early 1990's, at which time the melt spreading database upon which the code had been validated was rather limited. In particular, the database that was utilized for initial validation consisted of: (1) comparison to an analytical solution for the dam break problem, (2) water spreading tests in a 1/10 linear scale model of the Mark I containment by Theofanous et al., and (3) steel spreading tests by Suzuki et al. that were also conducted in a geometry similar to the Mark I. The objective of this work was to utilize the MELTSPREAD code to check the assumption of uniform melt spreading in the EPR core catcher design. As a starting point for the project, the code was validated against the worldwide melt spreading database that emerged after the code was originally written in the very early 1990's. As part of this exercise, the code was extensively modified and upgraded to incorporate findings from these various analytical and experiment programs. In terms of expanding the ability of the code to analyze various melt simulant experiments, the options to input user-specified melt and/or substrate material properties was added. The ability to perform invisicid and/or adiabatic spreading analysis was also added so that comparisons with analytical solutions and isothermal spreading tests could be carried out. In terms of refining the capability to carry out reactor material melt spreading analyses, the code was upgraded with a new melt viscosity model; the capability was added to treat situations in which solid fraction buildup between the liquidus-solidus is non-linear; and finally, the ability to treat an interfacial heat transfer resistance between the melt and substrate was incorporated. This last set of changes substantially improved the predictive capability of the code in terms of addressing reactor material melt spreading tests. Aside from improvements and upgrades, a method was developed to fit the model to the various melt spreading tests in a manner that allowed uncertainties in the model predictions to be statistically characterized. With these results, a sensitivity study was performed to investigate the assumption of uniform spreading in the EPR core catcher that addressed parametric variations in: (1) melt pour mass, (2) melt composition, (3) melt pour rate, (4) pour configuration (i.e., homogeneous vs. stratified metal-oxide phases), (5) melt temperature, (6) cavity condition (wet vs. dry), (7) spreading channel inclination angle, and finally (8) uncertainties in the melt viscosity correlation that are based on comparisons with the reactor material melt spreading database. Although differences were found in the rate of spreading and the degree to which the sacrificial concrete in the spreading room is ablated during the transients, in all cases the melt eventually (over a period of minutes) spreads to a uniform depth in the system.« less

Authors:
;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
951260
Report Number(s):
ANL-09/10
TRN: US0902181
DOE Contract Number:  
DE-AC02-06CH11357
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
ENGLISH
Subject:
21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; ANALYTICAL SOLUTION; CONTAINMENT SHELLS; CORE CATCHERS; DESIGN; HEAT TRANSFER; INCLINATION; MITIGATION; MODIFICATIONS; POWER REACTORS; REACTOR MATERIALS; REACTOR VESSELS; RETENTION; SCALE MODELS; STABILIZATION; SUBSTRATES; VISCOSITY

Citation Formats

Farmer, M T, and Nuclear Engineering Division. Melt spreading code assessment, modifications, and application to the EPR core catcher design.. United States: N. p., 2009. Web. doi:10.2172/951260.
Farmer, M T, & Nuclear Engineering Division. Melt spreading code assessment, modifications, and application to the EPR core catcher design.. United States. doi:10.2172/951260.
Farmer, M T, and Nuclear Engineering Division. Mon . "Melt spreading code assessment, modifications, and application to the EPR core catcher design.". United States. doi:10.2172/951260. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/951260.
@article{osti_951260,
title = {Melt spreading code assessment, modifications, and application to the EPR core catcher design.},
author = {Farmer, M T and Nuclear Engineering Division},
abstractNote = {The Evolutionary Power Reactor (EPR) is under consideration by various utilities in the United States to provide base load electrical production, and as a result the design is undergoing a certification review by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The severe accident design philosophy for this reactor is based upon the fact that the projected power rating results in a narrow margin for in-vessel melt retention by external cooling of the reactor vessel. As a result, the design addresses ex-vessel core melt stabilization using a mitigation strategy that includes: (1) an external core melt retention system to temporarily hold core melt released from the vessel; (2) a layer of 'sacrificial' material that is admixed with the melt while in the core melt retention system; (3) a melt plug in the lower part of the retention system that, when failed, provides a pathway for the mixture to spread to a large core spreading chamber; and finally, (4) cooling and stabilization of the spread melt by controlled top and bottom flooding. The overall concept is illustrated in Figure 1.1. The melt spreading process relies heavily on inertial flow of a low-viscosity admixed melt to a segmented spreading chamber, and assumes that the melt mass will be distributed to a uniform height in the chamber. The spreading phenomenon thus needs to be modeled properly in order to adequately assess the EPR design. The MELTSPREAD code, developed at Argonne National Laboratory, can model segmented, and both uniform and nonuniform spreading. The NRC is thus utilizing MELTSPREAD to evaluate melt spreading in the EPR design. MELTSPREAD was originally developed to support resolution of the Mark I containment shell vulnerability issue. Following closure of this issue, development of MELTSPREAD ceased in the early 1990's, at which time the melt spreading database upon which the code had been validated was rather limited. In particular, the database that was utilized for initial validation consisted of: (1) comparison to an analytical solution for the dam break problem, (2) water spreading tests in a 1/10 linear scale model of the Mark I containment by Theofanous et al., and (3) steel spreading tests by Suzuki et al. that were also conducted in a geometry similar to the Mark I. The objective of this work was to utilize the MELTSPREAD code to check the assumption of uniform melt spreading in the EPR core catcher design. As a starting point for the project, the code was validated against the worldwide melt spreading database that emerged after the code was originally written in the very early 1990's. As part of this exercise, the code was extensively modified and upgraded to incorporate findings from these various analytical and experiment programs. In terms of expanding the ability of the code to analyze various melt simulant experiments, the options to input user-specified melt and/or substrate material properties was added. The ability to perform invisicid and/or adiabatic spreading analysis was also added so that comparisons with analytical solutions and isothermal spreading tests could be carried out. In terms of refining the capability to carry out reactor material melt spreading analyses, the code was upgraded with a new melt viscosity model; the capability was added to treat situations in which solid fraction buildup between the liquidus-solidus is non-linear; and finally, the ability to treat an interfacial heat transfer resistance between the melt and substrate was incorporated. This last set of changes substantially improved the predictive capability of the code in terms of addressing reactor material melt spreading tests. Aside from improvements and upgrades, a method was developed to fit the model to the various melt spreading tests in a manner that allowed uncertainties in the model predictions to be statistically characterized. With these results, a sensitivity study was performed to investigate the assumption of uniform spreading in the EPR core catcher that addressed parametric variations in: (1) melt pour mass, (2) melt composition, (3) melt pour rate, (4) pour configuration (i.e., homogeneous vs. stratified metal-oxide phases), (5) melt temperature, (6) cavity condition (wet vs. dry), (7) spreading channel inclination angle, and finally (8) uncertainties in the melt viscosity correlation that are based on comparisons with the reactor material melt spreading database. Although differences were found in the rate of spreading and the degree to which the sacrificial concrete in the spreading room is ablated during the transients, in all cases the melt eventually (over a period of minutes) spreads to a uniform depth in the system.},
doi = {10.2172/951260},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2009},
month = {3}
}

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