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Investigation of the IRWST flow patterns during a simulated station blackout experiment on the OSU APEX facility

The OSU/APEX thermal hydraulic test facility models the passive safety systems
of the Westinghouse AP600 advanced light water reactor design. Numerous experiments
have been performed to test these systems, the one of focus here is the station blackout
scenario. This experiment simulated the complete loss of AC power to all plant systems.
One of the objectives of this experiment was to determine the effectiveness of the Passive
Residual Heat Removal (PRHR) system. The PRHR system removes heat by rejecting it
into the In-containment Refueling Water Storage Tank (IRWST).
The IRWST houses the PRHR and is used as a heat sink for the decay heat. The
PRHR is a C-type tube heat exchanger. Heat is removed through two mechanisms:
natural convection and nucleate boiling from the surface of the PRHR. As the experiment
progressed, a large degree of thermal stratification was observed in the IRWST with no
significant thermal mixing. A thermal layer developed in the top of the tank and as the
thermal layer approached saturation the rate of heat removal from the sections of the
PRHR engulfed by this layer decreased. The effectiveness of these sections of the PRHR continued to decrease until unexpected flow patterns developed at the same time that the
thermal layer reached saturation. The IRWST fluid exhibited a bulk azimuthal flow pattern that increased the effectiveness of the PRHR. This increase allowed for more heat to be injected into the IRWST. However, the bulk fluid motion still did not mix the thermal layers.
A three-dimensional computational fluid dynamic model using the CFX-4.2 software was developed to study the PRHR/IRWST system. The model uses the RPI method to account for the sub-cooled boiling that is present on the PRHR surface. The model successfully predicted the thermal stratification in the IRWST to within 4 K of experimental data. A counter-current flow was shown to occur along the interface of the thermal layers. This caused an enhancement of the heat transfer and turbulent mixing occurring across the interface of the thermal layers. / Graduation date: 1998
Date21 April 1998
CreatorsStrohecker, Mark F.
ContributorsPalmer, Todd S.
Source SetsOregon State University
Detected LanguageEnglish

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