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Tracking of fuel particles after pin failure in nominal, loss-of-flow and shutdown conditions in the MYRRHA reactor.

Buckingham, S., Planquart, Ph. & Van Tichelen, K.
Nuclear Engineering and Design

This work on fuel dispersion aims at quantifying the design and safety of the MYRRHA nuclear reactor. A number of accidents leading to the release of a secondary phase into the primary coolant loop are investigated. Among these scenarios, an incident leading to the failure of one or more of the fuel pins is simulated while the reactor is operating in nominal conditions, but also in natural convection regime either during accident transients such as loss-of-flow or during the normal shut-down of the reactor.

Two single-phase CFD models of the MYRRHA reactor are constructed in ANSYS Fluent to represent the reactor in nominal and natural convection conditions. An Euler–Lagrange approach with one-way coupling is used for the flow and particle tracking. Firstly, a steady state RANS solution is obtained for each of the three conditions. Secondly, the particles are released downstream from the core outlet and particle distributions are provided over the coolant circuit. Their size and density are defined such that test cases represent potential extremes that may occur. Analysis of the results highlights different particle behaviors, depending essentially on gravity forces and kinematic effects. Statistical distributions highlight potential accumulation regions that may form at the free-surfaces, on top of the upper diaphragm plate or at the bottom of the vessel. These results help to localize regions of fuel accumulation in order to provide insight for development of strategies for accident mitigation.

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