Reflooding of a severely damaged reactor core: Experimental analysis and modelling
Proceedings of ICONE19, 19th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering /
16-19 mai 2011, Chiba (Japon)
The understanding of the reflood process of a severely damaged reactor core represents a challenge in the prediction of safety margin of existing and future pressurized water reactors. After the TMI-2 accident, the understanding of coolability of severely damaged reactor core became an objective of many theoretical and experimental studies. Currently, the French Institute of Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) has started two experimental programs, PRELUDE and PEARL, to investigate the physical phenomena during a reflood process at high temperature and to provide relevant data in order to improve predictive models. The purpose of this paper is to propose a consistent thermo-hydraulic model of reflood of severely damaged reactor core. The presented model is based on the theory of heat transfer and two-phase flow in porous media and in small hydraulic diameter channels. The proposed model is implemented into the European computer code for severe accident analysis ICARE-CATHARE. The comparison of the calculations with PRELUDE experimental results is presented. Finally, the issue of transposition to the reactor scale is discussed and some answers are proposed using calculation results for a debris bed in a configuration similar to what could be expected in a severely damaged reactor core.