Publications Repository - Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf

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Nitrogen Transport in the Primary Circuit of a VVER during a LOCA occurring under Plant Cool-down Conditions

Prasser, H.-M.; Baranyai, G.; Böttger, A.; Ezsöl, G.; Guba, A.; Perneczky, L.; Toth, I.; Zschau, J.


The paper presents the results of a thermal hydraulic experiment conducted at the PMK-2 test facility in the frame of the IMPAM-VVER project. The test was dedicated to a scenario assuming a loss-of-coolant event dur-ing the cool-down phase of the plant, when neither core flooding tanks nor safety injections systems are available by an automatic action. This may lead to core heat-up in case of a larger LOCA. The assumed break size in the test was 30%. The experiment has shown that an overheat of the fuel rod cladding occurs. Finally, one of four lines of the low pressure ECC injection system is sufficient to handle the situation and to cool down the reactor safely. A speciality of the scenario is the fact that the primary circuit is pressurised with nitrogen. In the course of the transient, non-condensable gas can enter the primary circuit from the pressurizer during the blow-down phase. In order to study the transport of the nitrogen along the primary circuit, the test facility PMK-2 was equipped with a novel type of probe: a local void probe equipped with an integrated micro-thermocouple. The new probes delivered a global picture of the process. Nitrogen coming from the pressurizer after its depletion enters the circuit via the surge line and turns first in the direction of the main coolant flow towards the steam generator and finally towards the break in the cold leg. However, nitrogen is also moving in the opposite direc-tion and reaches the reactor outlet and enters even the upper plenum of the reactor closely after the main circulation pump has stopped. RELAP5 was found to be able to predict the behaviour of the non-condensable gas in the primary circuit. Despite of some delay in the prediction of the time of the appearance of the gaseous phase in the begin of the process, most details of the transient were reproduced by the calculation with a good accuracy.

Keywords: pressurized water reactors; loss-of-coolant transients; VVER; nitrogen transport; void probes; RELAP

  • Kerntechnik 69(2004)4, 167