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Preliminary Analysis of In-vessel Corium Confinement and Cooling in a Large Sodium Fast Reactor

pubblicazioni - Memoria

Preliminary Analysis of In-vessel Corium Confinement and Cooling in a Large Sodium Fast Reactor

As this study has been carried out in collaboration with the partners of CP-ESFR project of the 7th Framework Programme Euratom, on the basis of the postulated accident conditions assumed for a reference 1500 MWe pool-type sodium fast reactor, the present paper provides a preliminary analysis of the thermal response of a possible core catcher placed within the vessel

Considering a reasonable range of core meltdown accidents that can be postulated for GenIV sodium fast reactors, good safety margins exist for corium confinement and cooling inside the reactor vessel. Coolable conditions can be reached with the adoption, in the lower plenum, of an ad-hoc device, i.e. core catcher, capable to intercept the downward motion of the molten material and assure its cooling. Such device has to be designed to withstand to extreme thermal-mechanical conditions that rise as consequence of the large mechanical energy release and high temperature of molten corium. As this study has been carried out in the frame of CP-ESFR project of the 7th Framework Programme Euratom, on the basis of the postulated accident conditions assumed for a reference 1500 MWe pool-type sodium fast reactor, the present work provides a preliminary analysis of the thermal response of a possible core catcher placed within the vessel. The dynamic thermal behaviour of the corium-structure-coolant system is analyzed with the computer code CORIUM-2D, an original simulation tool developed by RSE with the aim to assess the thermal interaction among corium, structures and coolant under severe accident conditions in both LWRs and LMFBRs. The results of the numerical simulations show that the steady-state coolable configuration of core debris and the structural integrity of main containment structures can be reached in a number of partial core meltdown situations.

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