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Enhancing Nuclear Safety


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First experimental results of large scale debris bed reflood tests in the PEARL facility

​Nureth-16, Chicago (USA), 30th August- 3rd September 2015

Document type > *Congrès/colloque

Keywords >

Research Unit > IRSN/PSN-RES/SEREX/LE2M, IRSN/PSN-RES/SAG/LEPC

Authors > CHIKHI Nourdine, GARCIN Thierry, FOUBERT Franklin, MARCH Philippe, FICHOT Florian

Publication Date > 30/08/2015

Summary

​During a severe accident in a nuclear power plant, the degradation of fuel rods and melting of materials lead to the accumulation of core materials, which are commonly, called “debris beds”. To stop core degradation and avoid the reactor vessel rupture, the main accident management procedure consists in injecting water. In the case of debris bed, the reflooding models used for Loss of Coolant Accident are not applicable. The IRSN has launched an experimental program on debris bed reflooding to develop new models and to validate severe accident codes. The PEARL facility has been designed to perform, for the first time, the reflooding of large scale debris bed (Ø540mm, h=500mm and 500kg of steel debris) in a pressurized containment. The bed is heated by means of an induction system. A specific instrumentation has been developed to measure the debris bed temperature, pressure drop inside the bed and the steam flow rate during the reflooding. In this paper, the results of the first integral reflooding tests performed in the PEARL facility at atmospheric pressure up to 700°C are presented. Focus is made on the quench front propagation and on the steam flow rate during reflooding. The effect of water injection flow rate, debris initial temperature and residual power are also discussed. Finally, an analytical model providing the steam flow rate and the quench front velocity is proposed to interpret these results.


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