Implications of Air Ingress Induced by Density-Difference Driven Stratified Flow

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One of the design basis accidents for the Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP), a high temperature gas-cooled reactor, is air ingress subsequent to a pipe break. Following a postulated double-ended guillotine break in the hot duct, and the subsequent depressurization to nearly reactor cavity pressure levels, air present in the reactor cavity will enter the reactor vessel via density-gradient-driven-stratified flow. Because of the significantly higher molecular weight and lower initial temperature of the reactor cavity air-helium mixture, in contrast to the helium in the reactor vessel, the air-helium mixture in the cavity always has a larger density than the helium ... continued below

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Oh, Chang; Kim, Eung Soo; Schultz, Richard; Petti, David & Liou, C. P. June 1, 2008.

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One of the design basis accidents for the Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP), a high temperature gas-cooled reactor, is air ingress subsequent to a pipe break. Following a postulated double-ended guillotine break in the hot duct, and the subsequent depressurization to nearly reactor cavity pressure levels, air present in the reactor cavity will enter the reactor vessel via density-gradient-driven-stratified flow. Because of the significantly higher molecular weight and lower initial temperature of the reactor cavity air-helium mixture, in contrast to the helium in the reactor vessel, the air-helium mixture in the cavity always has a larger density than the helium discharging from the reactor vessel through the break into the reactor cavity. In the later stages of the helium blowdown, the momentum of the helium flow decreases sufficiently for the heavier cavity air-helium mixture to intrude into the reactor vessel lower plenum through the lower portion of the break. Once it has entered, the heavier gas will pool at the bottom of the lower plenum. From there it will move upwards into the core via diffusion and density-gradient effects that stem from heating the air-helium mixture and from the pressure differences between the reactor cavity and the reactor vessel. This scenario (considering density-gradient-driven stratified flow) is considerably different from the heretofore commonly used scenario that attributes movement of air into the reactor vessel and from thence to the core region via diffusion. When density-gradient-driven stratified flow is considered as a contributing phenomena for air ingress into the reactor vessel, the following factors contribute to a much earlier natural circulation-phase in the reactor vessel: (a) density-gradient-driven stratified flow is a much more rapid mechanism (at least one order of magnitude) for moving air into the reactor vessel lower plenum than diffusion, and consequently, (b) the diffusion dominated phase begins with a much larger flow area and a much shorter distance for air to move into the core than earlier scenarios that attribute all air ingress from the reactor cavity into the core to diffusion only. Hence, consideration of the density-gradient-driven stratified flow phenomena will likely lead to more rapid air ingress into the core and also the presence of more air for core graphite oxidation than the widely-used air ingress attributed solely to diffusion. This paper discusses the density-gradient-driven stratified flow phenomena and the implications of considering this behavior on the progression of the air ingress event. Preliminary calculations are used to underline the importance of considering the density-gradient driven stratified flow phenomena in subsequent validation experiments and software development for analyzing VHTR scenarios.

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  • ICAPP 2008,Anaheim, California,06/08/2008,06/12/2008

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  • Report No.: INL/CON-08-13821
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-99ID-13727
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 933177
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc902855

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Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • June 1, 2008

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  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Nov. 7, 2016, 4:20 p.m.

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Oh, Chang; Kim, Eung Soo; Schultz, Richard; Petti, David & Liou, C. P. Implications of Air Ingress Induced by Density-Difference Driven Stratified Flow, article, June 1, 2008; [Idaho Falls, Idaho]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc902855/: accessed November 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.