Natural Convection Test in Phenix Reactor and Associated CATHARE Calculation
NURETH-14 - 2011 September 25-30

Presented at:
2011 September 25-30
Toronto, Canada
Session Title:
G1-1 - Sodium Cooled Fast Reactors Design and Safety and Lead/Lead-Bismuth Cooled Reactors

David Pialla (CEA)
Denis Tenchine (CEA)
Paul Gauthe (CEA)
Alfredo Vasile (CEA)


The CATHARE calculations are compared to the Phenix measurements. A particular attention is paid to the significant decrease of the core power before the scram. Then, the evolution of main components inlet and outlet temperatures is compared. The need of coupling a system code with a CFD code to model the 3D behaviour of large pools is pointed out. This work is in progress.

The Phenix sodium cooled fast reactor started operation in 1973 and was stopped in 2009. Before the reactor was definitively stopped, final tests were performed, including a natural convection test in the primary circuit. One objective of this natural convection test in Phenix reactor is the qualification of plant dynamic codes as CATHARE code for future safety studies.

The paper firstly describes the Phenix reactor primary circuit. The initial test conditions and the detailed transient scenario are presented. Then, the CATHARE modelling of the Phenix primary circuit is described. The whole transient scenario is calculated, including the nominal state, the steam generators dry out, the scram, the onset of natural convection in the primary circuit and the natural convection phases.

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