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The MYRRHA reactor design and the primary heat exchanger (PHX) tube rupture event analysis

Date: 23/04/2018
Author: Castelliti, D.
Subject: The MYRRHA reactor design and the primary heat exchanger (PHX) tube rupture event analysis
University: UGenova
Promotor: Lomanoco, G.
SCK CEN Mentor: Van den Eynde, G.

Among the different nuclear plant concepts proposed in the frame of Generation IV, the pool-type reactors cooled by Heavy Liquid Metal represent one of the most promising options. One of the most important challenges, form the point of view of design and safety, consists in optimizing an efficient and compact design. Such requirements often imply the adoption of a lower number of cooling loops in comparison with similar reactor concepts. The intermediate loop can be eliminated by adopting a secondary fluid entering in a heat exchanger (or steam generator) located in the primary vessel. Pressurized water represents a common choice as secondary cooling fluid. One of the most safety-relevant events for this reactor concept is indeed represented by the accidental water ingress in the primary vessel, which can trigger a series of consequences potentially jeopardizing the reactor safety functions. The study of this transient implies the analysis of multiphase flow, characterized by several phenomena on different time and spatial scales. The MYRRHA reactor is a pool-type Material Testing Accelerator Driven System (ADS), cooled by Lead-Bismuth Eutectic (LBE) with the ability to operate also as a critical reactor. Pressurized water is adopted as secondary coolant, removing the power generated in the primary system through the Primary Heat Exchangers (PHX). The Ph. D. activities should focus on the MYRRHA reactor design and the impact of a PHX Tube Rupture (PHXTR) event on its components: all the analyses foreseen and the experimental campaigns in support of calculations should be aimed at studying the transient in MYRRHA relevant configuration. The theoretical analysis on the consequences following the moisture release into the primary vessel must be performed in MYRRHA-like conditions, assuming the correct dimensions for the PHX and all the related systems and components in order to be able to predict in the best way the PHXTR accident evolution. The impact on the reactor internals and the mechanical loads determined by the pressure wave and potential steam explosion should be evaluated according to the real MYRRHA configuration, as well as the pressure build-up in the reactor cover gas and the consequent reactor cover rupture disk break. The experimental campaign foreseen for MYRRHA PHXTR event, mainly in the framework of EU FP7-MAXSIMA project, have been run in a set of conditions that closely resembles the MYRRHA environment. The purpose is to validate the theoretical models and the numerical simulations towards the experiments in order to obtain suitable calculation tools allowing correct predictions. The final purpose of the Ph.D. activities consists then in fully covering the evolution of the PHXTR accident in the MYRRHA reactor by the use of suitable and validated computational tools, taking thus into account all the evolution phases and predicting the potential implications caused by the event.

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