Nuclear Technology / Volume 177 / Number 2 / February 2012 / Pages 217-230
Technical Paper / Thermal Hydraulics
An experimental activity was performed to observe and study the effects of graphite dispersion and deposition on thermal-hydraulic phenomena in a reactor cavity cooling system (RCCS). The small-scale RCCS experimental facility (16.5 × 16.5 × 30.4 cm) used for this activity represents half of the reactor cavity with an electrically heated vessel. Water flowing through five vertical pipes removes the heat produced in the vessel and releases it into the environment by mixing with cold water in a large tank. The particle image velocimetry technique was used to study the velocity field of the air inside the cavity. A set of 52 thermocouples was installed in the facility to monitor the temperature profiles of the vessel, pipe walls, and air. Ten grams of a fine graphite powder (average particle size 2 m) was injected into the cavity through a spraying nozzle placed at the bottom of the vessel. The temperatures and air velocity field were recorded and compared with the measurements obtained before the graphite dispersion, showing a decrease of the temperature surfaces that was related to an increase in their emissivity. The results contribute to the understanding of RCCS capability in an accident scenario.