Local Heat Transfer from the Corium Melt Pool to the Boiling Water Reactor Pressure Vessel Wall
NURETH-14 - 2011 September 25-30

Presented at:
2011 September 25-30
Toronto, Canada
Session Title:
A12-3 Thermalhydraulics of Low Prandtl-Number (Liquid Metal) Flows (II)

Chi Thanh Tran (Institute of Energy, Hanoi, Vietnam)
Pavel Kudinov (Royal Institute of Technology)


The present study considers in-vessel accident progression after core melt relocation to the lower head of a Boling Water Reactor (BWR) and formation of a melt pool containing a forest of Control Rod Guide Tubes (CRGTs) cooled by purging flows. Descending streams of melt that flow along cooled surfaces of CRGT, and impinge on the bottom surface of the vessel wall can significantly increase local heat transfer. The area of enhanced heat transfer enlarges with decreasing of the melt Prandtl (Pr) number, while the peaking value of the heat transfer coefficient is a non-monotone function of Pr number. The melt Pr number depends on the melt composition (fractions of metallic and oxidic melt components) and thus is inherently uncertain parameter of the core melting and relocation scenarios. The effect of Pr number in the range of 1.02 - 0.03 on the local and integral thermal loads on the vessel wall is examined using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). Heat transfer models obtained on the base of CFD simulations are implemented in the Phase-change Effective Convectivity Model (PECM) for simulation of reactor-scale accident progression heat transfer in real 3D geometry of the BWR lower plenum. We found that the influence of the low Pr number on the thermal loads in a big melt pool becomes more significant at later time, than rapid acceleration of the creep in the vessel wall. This result suggests that global vessel failure is insensitive to the melt composition in the considered 0.7 m deep melt pool configuration. However, it is not clear yet if the low Pr number effect has an influence on vessel failure mode in the other possible melt pool configurations.

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