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Development of a Three-Dimensional Time-Dependent Calculation Scheme for Molten Salt Reactors and Validation of the Measurement Data of the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment

J. Kópházi, D. Lathouwers, J. L. Kloosterman

Nuclear Science and Engineering / Volume 163 / Number 2 / October 2009 / Pages 118-131

Technical Paper /

This paper presents the development, validation, and results of a three-dimensional, time-dependent, coupled-neutronics-thermal-hydraulic calculational scheme for channel-type molten salt reactors (MSRs). The reactor physics part is based on diffusion theory, extended by a term representing the flow of the fuel through the core. The calculation of the temperature field is done by modeling all fuel channels, which are coupled to each other by a three-dimensional heat conduction equation. For the purpose of validation, the results of the MSR Experiment (MSRE) natural-circulation experiment and the thermal feedback coefficients of the reactor have been calculated and compared.

With the aid of a code system developed to implement this scheme, calculations were carried out for the normal operating state of the MSRE and some debris-induced channel-blocking-incident transients. In the case of the MSRE, it is shown that the severity of such an incident strongly depends on the degree of channel blocking and that high-temperature gradients in the moderator can connect thermally the adjacent fuel channels. Results are included for an unblocking transient (i.e., the debris suddenly exits the core, and the fuel flow reverts to the normal operating pattern), and it was demonstrated that during the unblocking large power peaks can be induced.

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