Comparison of CFD Natural Convection and Conduction-only Models for Heat Transfer in the Yucca Mountain Project Drifts

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Yucca Mountain, Nevada has been designated as the nation's high-level radioactive waste repository and the U.S. Department of Energy has been approved to apply to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a license to construct a repository. Heat transfer in the Yucca Mountain Project (YMP) drift enclosures is an important aspect of repository waste emplacement. Canisters containing radioactive waste are to be emplaced in tunnels drilled 500 m below the ground surface. After repository closure, decaying heat is transferred from waste packages to the host rock by a combination of thermal radiation, natural convection and conduction heat transfer mechanism?. Current ... continued below

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25 pages

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Hadgu, T.; Webb, S. & Itamura, M. February 12, 2004.

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Description

Yucca Mountain, Nevada has been designated as the nation's high-level radioactive waste repository and the U.S. Department of Energy has been approved to apply to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a license to construct a repository. Heat transfer in the Yucca Mountain Project (YMP) drift enclosures is an important aspect of repository waste emplacement. Canisters containing radioactive waste are to be emplaced in tunnels drilled 500 m below the ground surface. After repository closure, decaying heat is transferred from waste packages to the host rock by a combination of thermal radiation, natural convection and conduction heat transfer mechanism?. Current YMP mountain-scale and drift-scale numerical models often use a simplified porous medium code to model fluid and heat flow in the drift openings. To account for natural convection heat transfer, the thermal conductivity of the air was increased in the porous medium model. The equivalent thermal conductivity, defined as the ratio of total heat flow to conductive heat flow, used in the porous media models was based on horizontal concentric cylinders. Such modeling does not effectively capture turbulent natural convection in the open spaces as discussed by Webb et al. (2003) yet the approach is still widely used on the YMP project. In order to mechanistically model natural convection conditions in YMP drifts, the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) code FLUENT (Fluent, Incorporated, 2001) has been used to model natural convection heat transfer in the YMP emplacement drifts. A two-dimensional (2D) model representative of YMP geometry (e.g., includes waste package, drip shield, invert and drift wall) has been developed and numerical simulations made (Francis et al., 2003). Using CFD simulation results for both natural convection and conduction-only heat transfer in a single phase, single component fluid, equivalent thermal conductivities have been calculated for different Rayleigh numbers. Correlation equations for equivalent thermal conductivity as a function of Rayleigh number were developed for the Yucca Mountain geometry and comparisons were made to experimental data and correlations found in the literature on natural convection in horizontal concentric cylinders, a geometry similar to YMP. The objective of this work is to compare the results of CFD natural convection simulations and conduction-only calculations that used the equivalent thermal conductivity to represent heat transfer by turbulent natural convection. The FLUENT code was used for both simulations with heat generation boundary condition at the waste package and constant temperature boundary condition 5 meters into the host rock formation. Comparisons are made of temperature contours in the drift air and temperature profiles at surfaces of the different engineered components using the two approaches. The results show that for the two-dimensional YMP geometry considered, the average surface temperatures of the CFD natural convection and conduction-only using the equivalent thermal conductivity are similar and the maximum local temperature differences for the different surfaces were within two 2 C. The differences in temperature profiles reflect the use of a constant equivalent thermal conductivity. The effect of the differences is discussed.

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25 pages

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INIS; OSTI as DE00837568

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  • Other Information: PBD: 12 Feb 2004

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  • Report No.: NONE
  • Grant Number: NONE
  • DOI: 10.2172/837568 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 837568
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc779145

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  • February 12, 2004

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Dec. 3, 2015, 9:30 a.m.

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  • March 11, 2016, 5:04 p.m.

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Hadgu, T.; Webb, S. & Itamura, M. Comparison of CFD Natural Convection and Conduction-only Models for Heat Transfer in the Yucca Mountain Project Drifts, report, February 12, 2004; Las Vegas, Nevada. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc779145/: accessed December 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.