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[en] Unit 4 of the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant suffered a hydrogen explosion at 6:00 am on March 15, 2011, exactly 3.64 days after the earthquake hit the plant and the off-site power was lost. The earthquake occurred on March 11 at 2:47 pm. Since the reactor of this Unit 4 was defueled on November 29, 2010, and all its fuel was stored in the spent fuel pool (SFP4), it was first believed that the explosion was caused by hydrogen generated by the spent fuel, in particular, by the recently discharged core. The hypothetical scenario was: power was lost, cooling to the SFP4 water was lost, pool water heated/boiled, water level decreased, fuel was uncovered, hot Zircaloy reacted with steam, hydrogen was generated and accumulated above the pool, and the explosion occurred. Recent analyses of the radioisotopes present in the water of the SFP4 and underwater video indicated that this scenario did not occur - the fuel in this pool was not damaged and was never uncovered the hydrogen of the explosion was apparently generated in Unit 3 and transported through exhaust ducts that shared the same chimney with Unit 4. This paper will try to answer the following questions: Could that hypothetical scenario in the SFP4 have occurred? Could the spent fuel in the SPF4 generate enough hydrogen to produce the explosion that occurred 3.64 days after the earthquake? Given the magnitude of the explosion, it was estimated that at least 150 kg of hydrogen had to be generated. As part of the investigations of this accident, MELCOR models of the SFP4 were prepared and a series of calculations were completed. The latest version of MELCOR, version 2.1 (Ref. 1), was employed in these calculations. The spent fuel pool option for BWR fuel was selected in MELCOR. The MELCOR model of the SFP4 consists of a total of 1535 fuel assemblies out of which 548 assemblies are from the core defueled on Nov. 29, 2010, 783 assemblies are older assemblies, and 204 are new/fresh assemblies. The total decay heat of the fuel in the pool was, at the time of the accident, 2.284 MWt, of which 1.872 MWt were from the 548 assemblies of the last core discharged and 0.412 MWt were from the older 783 assemblies. These decay heat values were calculated at Oak Ridge National Laboratory using the ORIGEN2.2 code (Ref. 2) - they agree with values reported elsewhere (Ref. 3). The pool dimensions are 9.9 m x 12.2 m x 11.8 m (height), and with the water level at 11.5 m, the pool volume is 1389 m3, of which only 1240 m3 is water, as some volume is taken by the fuel and by the fuel racks. The initial water temperature of the SFP4 was assumed to be 301 K. The fuel racks are made of an aluminum alloy but are modeled in MELCOR with stainless steel and B4C. MELCOR calculations were completed for different initial water levels: 11.5 m (pool almost full, water is only 0.3 m below the top rim), 4.4577 m (top of the racks), 4.2 m, and 4.026 m (top of the active fuel). A calculation was also completed for a rapid loss of water due to a leak at the bottom of the pool, with the fuel rapidly uncovered and oxidized in air. Results of these calculations are shown in the enclosed Table I. The calculation with the initial water level at 11.5 m (full pool) takes 11 days for the water to boil down to the top of the fuel racks, 11.5 days for the fuel to be uncovered, 14.65 days to generate 150 kg of hydrogen and 19 days for the pool to be completely dry. The calculation with the initial water level at 4.4577 m, takes 1.1 days to uncover the fuel and 4.17 days to generate 150 kg of hydrogen. The calculation with the initial water level at 4.02 m takes 3.63 days to generate 150 kg of hydrogen this is exactly the time when the actual explosion occurred in Unit 4. Finally, fuel oxidation in air after the pool drained the water in 20 minutes, generates only 10 kg of hydrogen this is because very little steam is available and Zircaloy (Zr) oxidation with the oxygen of the air does not generate hydrogen. MELCOR calculated water levels and hydrogen generated in the SFP4 as a function of time for initial water levels of 4.457 m, 4.2 m and 4.02 m are shown in Figs. 1 and 2. Water levels increase at the beginning due to the expansion of the water during the heat-up from 301 K to 373 K. Boiling occurs after the water temperature reaches 373 K. The total amount of hydrogen generated is ∼2000 kg, this amount includes hydrogen generated from Zr, which is the largest amount (∼1580 kg), from stainless steel (∼360 kg), and from B4C (∼60 kg). In theory, it is possible to generate up to 3.4 kg of hydrogen per assembly (from oxidation of Zr in the fuel cladding and box), or a total of 4,525 kg from the hot 1331 assemblies stored in the SFP4. The hydrogen generated from oxidation of steel and B4C will be additional.
[en] Mass optimization calculations have been completed with the code ALKASYSSRPS for a small Rankine space power conversion system with a power of 100 kWe. The main parameter varied in this optimization was the condenser temperature;, but other parameters were studied, including materials used in the primary and secondary loops, radiator type, and the number of power conversion units. The optimum system (with the lowest mass) was calculated for the system employing the material T-111 in the primary and the secondary loops. (authors)
[en] The transient analysis 3-dimensional (3-D) computer code RELAP5-3D/ATHENA has been employed to model and analyze a space reactor of 180 kW(thermal), 40 kW (net, electrical) with eight Stirling engines (SEs). Each SE will generate over 6 kWe; the excess power will be needed for the pumps and other power management devices. The reactor will be cooled by NaK (a eutectic mixture of sodium and potassium which is liquid at ambient temperature). This space reactor is intended to be deployed over the surface of the Moon or Mars. The reactor operating life will be 8 to 10 years. The RELAP5-3D/ATHENA code is being developed and maintained by Idaho National Laboratory. The code can employ a variety of coolants in addition to water, the original coolant employed with early versions of the code. The code can also use 3-D volumes and 3-D junctions, thus allowing for more realistic representation of complex geometries. A combination of 3-D and 1-D volumes is employed in this study. The space reactor model consists of a primary loop and two secondary loops connected by two heat exchangers (HXs). Each secondary loop provides heat to four SEs. The primary loop includes the nuclear reactor with the lower and upper plena, the core with 85 fuel pins, and two vertical heat exchangers (HX). The maximum coolant temperature of the primary loop is 900 K. The secondary loops also employ NaK as a coolant at a maximum temperature of 877 K. The SEs heads are at a temperature of 800 K and the cold sinks are at a temperature of ∼400 K. Two radiators will be employed to remove heat from the SEs. The SE HXs surrounding the SE heads are of annular design and have been modeled using 3-D volumes. These 3-D models have been used to improve the HX design by optimizing the flows of coolant and maximizing the heat transferred to the SE heads. The transients analyzed include failure of one or more Stirling engines, trip of the reactor pump, and trips of the secondary loop pumps feeding the HXs of the Stirling engines. Loss of one radiator sink has also been simulated. The effects of reduced gravity on the transients have also been investigated. The transients studied have been used to demonstrate the safety and the operability of the system. The results of the transients will be used to evaluate which transients the system can survive without damage and can continue operating at nominal or reduced power levels for the intended life time of the reactor.
[en] This paper summarizes the results of analyses performed to assess the effect of a variety of design parameters and operational procedures on a station blackout severe accident at the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station. The severe-accident ppercase(melcor) code, version 1.8.1 was used in these analyses. The following sensitivity studies were completed: effect of the automatic depressurization system actuation timing on the accident progression; effect of fuel and cladding porosities on vessel failure and containment failure times; effect of several parameters on the amount of in-vessel steel ejected into the cavity after vessel failure; effect of different parameters on vessel penetration failure time; vessel failure timing; and lower plenum shroud and core shroud temperatures. These sensitivity studies provided valuable insights into the ppercase(melcor) code behavior and into the progression of this severe accident. The most significant results are: (a) the optimum steam cooling of the core is accomplished when the automatic depressurization system is actuated when the core water level is at one-third of the active core height, delaying vessel failure by minutes and containment failure by hours, (b) vessel failure is significantly delayed (by 2 h) when lower-plenum debris quenching is included in the model, and (c) the core shroud melts during this transient. ((orig.))
[en] The ITER ('the way' in Latin) project in Cadarache, France, will operate the largest tokamak ever built to demonstrate the physical and technical feasibility of nuclear fusion as an energy source. The ITER vacuum vessel is equipped with 50 access ports. Each port has an opening in the bio-shield that communicates with a dedicated port cell. During tokamak operation, the bio-shield opening must be closed with a concrete plug to shield the radiation coming from the plasma. This port plug separates the port cell into a port interspace (between vacuum vessel closure lid and port plug) on the inner side and a port cell on the outer side. This paper presents calculations of pressures and temperatures in the ITER port interspace after a double-ended guillotine break (DEGB) of a pipe in the tokamak cooling water system (TCWS). It is assumed that the DEGB occurs during the worst possible conditions-during water baking operation, with water at 523 K (250 deg. C) and 4.4 MPa. These conditions are more severe than during normal tokamak operation with the water at 398 K (125 deg. C) and 2 MPa. Two computer codes are employed in these calculations: RELAP5-3D Version 4.2.1 to calculate blowdown releases from the pipe break, and MELCOR, Version 1.8.6 to calculate pressures and temperatures in the port interspace. A sensitivity study has been performed to optimize the maximum peak pressure in the port interspace volume of ITER. The optimum case was for a labyrinth area (FL131) of 0.5 m2 and a relief panel (FL135) kept open after the first cycle. This case keeps the pressure in the port interspace under 150 kPa and the temperatures under 385 K. (authors)
[en] A critical review of the thermophysical properties of UO2 and MOX fuels has been completed, and the best correlations for thermophysical properties have been selected. The properties reviewed are solidus and liquidus temperatures of the uranium/plutonium dioxide system (melting and solidification temperatures), thermal expansion and density, enthalpy and specific heat, enthalpy (or heat) of fusion, and thermal conductivity. Only fuel properties have been reviewed. The selected set of property correlations was compiled to be used in thermal-hydraulic codes to perform safety calculations
[en] The Fluoride salt-cooled High-temperature Reactor (FHR) 'Demonstration Reactor' (DR) is a novel reactor concept using molten salt coolant and tri-structural isotropic (TRISO) fuel that is being investigated at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The objective of the FHR DR is to advance the technology readiness level of FHRs. The FHR DR will demonstrate the technologies needed to close remaining gaps to commercial viability. The FHR DR will have a thermal power of 100 MWt, very similar to the Small modular Advanced High Temperature Reactor (SmAHTR), another FHR ORNL concept with a power of 125 MWt. The FHR DR shares features with the ORNL Advanced High Temperature Reactor (AHTR), which has a power of 3400 MWt and is cooled by a molten salt. The FHR DR combines three existing technologies: (1) high-temperature, low-pressure molten salt coolant, (2) high-temperature coated particle TRISO fuel, and (3) passive decay heat cooling systems using direct reactor auxiliary cooling systems (DRACS). This paper presents FHR DR thermal-hydraulic design calculations. The FHR DR design concept is being investigated by ORNL. Thermal-hydraulic calculations performed with the codes COMSOL and RELAP5-3D were used to determine the potential thermal and hydraulic characteristics of the concept. These results show that the FHR DR should be able to demonstrate the efficacy of the passive decay heat removal using DRACS, which is a key safety feature in a number of proposed FHR designs. (authors)
[en] A new experimental facility is being developed for materials irradiation and testing at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR). Details of this facility have been presented before. A prototype of this facility, the Thermosyphon Test Loop (TSTL) has been built, and experimental data have been obtained and analyzed. Pretest calculations for this facility with the RELAP5-3D code have been presented previously as well as other calculations with the TRACE code. The results of both codes were very different. RELAP5-3D predicted much higher pressures and temperatures than TRACE. This paper compares calculated results with the TSTL experimental data. Comparison of calculations with the codes RELAP5-3D and TRACE with experimental data of the new TSTL facility has shown that TRACE results agree well with the data and that RELAP5-3D calculates very high pressures and temperatures. The TRACE code is well suited to model this facility and is being used for future calculations. (authors)
[en] A new experimental facility is being developed for materials irradiation and testing at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR). Details of this facility have been presented before. A prototype of this facility, the Thermosyphon Test Loop (TSTL), has been built, and experimental data have been obtained and analyzed. The purpose of the tests was to establish a safe operating envelope for actual fueled experiments in a HFIR experimental facility. Both steady-state and transient experiments were conducted. The data will also be used to validate computer simulations of the thermosyphon so that those codes can be used for future safety-basis calculations. This paper presents a summary of the TSTL experimental data and analysis. A report with all the data and analyses will be published in the near future. Experimental data from 51 tests in the TSTL have been obtained. This extensive set of high quality data can be used to benchmark codes with boiling and condensing phenomena. This new proposed irradiation facility allows materials to be irradiated without concern for HFIR coolant contamination (from specimen failures) as it uses a separate coolant, that is isolated (except thermally) from the HFIR primary coolant. (authors)
[en] This report describes the RELAP5 models that have been developed for the Vacuum Vessel (VV) Primary Heat Transfer System (PHTS). The models are intended to be used to examine the transient performance of the VV PHTS, and evaluate control schemes necessary to maintain parameters within acceptable limits during transients. Some preliminary results are presented to show the maturity of the models and to examine general VV PHTS transient behavior. The models can be used as a starting point to develop transient modeling capability in several directions including control system modeling, safety evaluations, etc, and are not intended to represent the final VV PHTS design. Preliminary calculations using the models indicate that during normal pulsed operation, heat exchanger control may not be necessary, and that temperatures within the vacuum vessel during decay heat operation remain low.