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Advanced Treatment of Zircaloy Cladding High Temperature Oxidation in Severe Accident Code Calculations - Part 3 : Verification Against Representative Transient Tests

F. Fichot1, B. Adroguer1, A. Volchek2 et Y. Zvonarev2.

Nuclear Engineering and Design, Vol. 232, pp. 97-109, 2004.

Document type > *Article de revue

Keywords > code validation, ICARE/CATHARE code, oxidation, zircaloy

Research Unit > IRSN/DPAM/SEMCA/LESAG

Authors > ADROGUER Bernard, FICHOT Florian

Publication Date > 01/02/2004

Summary

The treatment of zirconium oxidation kinetics in severe accident (SA) codes has been the subject of many discussions and controversies in recent years. The main problem was the existence of several correlations which could lead to large differences in the calculated results. It appeared clearly that there was a need to converge towards a common understanding of the physical processes that must be modelled (oxygen diffusion, blanketing effect, etc.) and an agreed database among code developers and users. It would help reducing an important source of uncertainties in SA calculations.

The kinetic correlation database, obtained as a result of examination of complementary experimental data in Parts I and II, is applied here to analyze a few high-temperature separate-effects tests and bundle experiments where Zry oxidation reaction played a dominant role. The ICARE/CATHARE computer code developed by IRSN is used to check the validity of the high temperature correlations derived in Parts I and II. The physical modeling provided by the code includes detailed account of specific features of chemical interactions between fuel rod cladding and steam. In particular, high reaction rates at T > 2000 K are moderated by two effects, examined in Part I: steam blanketing during thin oxide layers growth and transition to oxidation of a-Zr(O) phase after total consumption of primary b-Zr in cladding metallic part.

When applied to separate-effects tests, the evaluated parabolic correlations have shown their applicability to different types of temperature transients taking into account Zry oxidation specifics in rod geometry. The bundle integral experiments QUENCH-06 and PHEBUS B9+ did not lead to extremely large temperature excursions. Calculated temperatures, hydrogen production and oxide thickness, as well as parameters of melt relocation were found to agree well with experimentally measured values. As a result of this study, we believe that the new best-fitted correlations, obtained in agreement with available experimental data, can be used in further studies and can improve predictive power of the codes. The continuation of the current work will be the application of ICARE/CATHARE code with best-fitted Zry oxidation correlations to NPP accident scenarios.

(1) IRSN/DPAM
(2) NSI-KI
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