Thermal-hydraulic study of the LBE-cooled fuel assembly in the MYRRHA reactor: Experiments and simulations

Pacio Julio, Thomas Wetzel, Heleen Doolaard, Ferry Roelofs, Katrien Van Tichelen

Research outputpeer-review

Abstract

Heavy liquid metals (HLMs), such as lead-bismuth eutectic (LBE) and pure lead are prominent candidate coolants for many advanced systems based on fast neutrons. In particular, LBE is used in the first-of-its kind MYRRHA fast reactor, to be built in Mol (Belgium), which can be operated either in critical mode or as a sub-critical accelerator-driven system. With a strong focus on safety, key thermal-hydraulic aspects of these systems, such as the proper cooling of fuel assemblies, must be assessed. Considering the complex geometry and low Prandtl number of LBE (Pr 0.025), this flow scenario is challenging for the models used in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), e.g. for relating the turbulent transport of momentum and heat. Thus, reliable experimental data for the relevant scenario are needed for validation. In this general context, this topic is studied both experimentally and numerically in the framework of the European FP7 project SEARCH (2011–2015). An experimental campaign, including a 19-rod bundle with wire spacers, cooled by LBE is undertaken at KIT. With prototypical geometry and operating conditions, it is intended to evaluate the validity of current empirical correlations for the MYRRHA conditions and, at the same time, to provide validation data for the CFD simulations performed at NRG. The results of one benchmarking case are presented in this work. Moreover, this validated approach is then used for simulating a complete MYRRHA fuel assembly (127 rods).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-337
JournalNuclear Engineering and Design
Volume312
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2017

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