Under severe accident conditions, the containment leak-tightness could be threatened by energetic phenomena that could yield a release to the environment of nuclear aerosols through penetrating concrete cracks. As few data are presently available to quantify this aerosol leakage, a specific action was launched in the framework of the SARNET Project of the European 6th Framework Programme. In this context, both theoretical and experimental investigations have been managed to develop a model that can readily be applied within a code like ASTEC (Accident Source Term Evaluation Code). Particle diffusion, settling, turbulent deposition, diffusiophoresis and thermophoresis have been considered as deposition mechanisms inside the crack path. They have been encapsulated in numerical models set up to reproduce experiments with small tubes and capillaries and simulate the plug formation. Then, an original lagrangian approach has been used to evaluate the crack retention under typical PWR accident conditions, comparing its predictions with those given by the eulerian approach implemented in the ECART code. On the experimental side, the paper illustrates an aerosol production and measurement system developed to validate aerosol deposition models into cracks and the results that can be obtained: a series of tests were performed with monodispersed fluorescein aerosols injected into a cracked concrete sample. A key result that should be further explored refers to the high enhancement of aerosol retention that could be due to steam condensation. Recommendations concerning future experimentation are also given in the paper.
(1) : CESI
(2) : National Centre for Scientific Research “Demokritos”
(3) : IRSN
(4) : CIEMAT
(5) : National Technical University of Athens, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Athens, Greece
(6) : CEA, Cadarache
(7) : Politecnico di Milano, Nuclear Engineering Department