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IAEA - International Atomic Energy Agency

09/16/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 09/16/2021 02:56

New CRP: Benchmark of Transition from Forced to Natural Circulation Experiment with Heavy Liquid Metal Loop (I31038)

The IAEA is launching a new Coordinated Research Project to address the technical challenges in liquid metal cooled fast reactor modelling and simulation. The CRP, entitled 'Benchmark of Transition from Forced to Natural Circulation Experiment with Heavy Liquid Metal Loop', will be conducted over four years.

This is the first IAEA CRP devoted to heavy liquid metal cooled fast reactors and the thermal hydraulics of lead and lead bismuth eutectic (LBE) technology. Lead and LBE reactors offer significant safety and reliability enhancements. However, the technology is not as mature as sodium cooled fast reactors. Modelling and simulation combined with material testing is necessary to further develop heavy liquid metal cooled reactors and support engineers in both the design process and the preparation for licensing.

The Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA) proposed this CRP to the members of the Technical Working Group on Fast Reactors during the group's 53rd annual meeting last year. ENEA operates the Natural Circulation Experiment Upgrade (NACIE-UP) facility, a rectangular loop containing a wire spaced 19 pin fuel pin simulator capable of operating up to 250 kW for qualification and instrumentation testing.

As part of this CRP, ENEA will provide participants with the results from three reference tests performed in 2017 as well as design and test conditions of the loop. The obtained experimental data are used to study the test assembly (by computing the heat transfer coefficient) and for transition from forced to natural circulation. The collected integral loop data can be used to qualify system reactor codes, whereas the local temperature distributions within the test fuel assembly data can be useful for the validation of computational fluid dynamics (CFD), subchannel, and system analysis codes for heavy liquid metal systems.

CRP Overall Objective

The goal of this CRP is to develop Member State advanced fast reactor analytical capabilities for simulation and design using system, CFD and subchannel analysis codes. The CRP will foster international information sharing as well as important opportunities for training young generation nuclear engineers. It is expected that the CRP will also result in identifying additional opportunities for research and development work to further develop liquid metal cooled reactor technology.

Specific Research Objectives

  1. Collect, evaluate, share and discuss experimental data obtained during NACIE tests simulating transition from forced to natural circulation;
  2. Perform benchmark analysis by 'blind' simulation using different codes, methods and models;
  3. Compare calculated results vs. experimental data, validate simulations models and codes and share and compare methodologies and tools used by CRP participants;
  4. Incorporate improvements learned from blind phase comparison to models and tools to improve analysis capabilities;
  5. Conduct sensitivity analysis and parametric studies;
  6. Develop IAEA technical publication on the CRP; and
  7. Publish the CRP results in conference proceedings and peer reviewed journals.

How to join the CRP

Please submit your Research Proposal by 31 December 2021 to the IAEA's Research Contracts Administration Section, using CRP ID 'I31038' and the form templates on the CRA pages. A kick-off meeting for the project is tentatively scheduled for 2022 in Vienna.

For further information related to this CRP, potential applicants can contact the Project Officers, Vladimir Kriventsev and Joseph Mahanes, from the Nuclear Power Technology Development Section, Division of Nuclear Power, IAEA Department of Nuclear Energy.