Nuclear Technology / Volume 149 / Number 2 / February 2005 / Pages 189-199
Technical Paper / Thermal Hydraulics
To clarify the effects of the principal factors that govern the thermal fragmentation of a molten metallic fuel jet in the course of fuel-coolant interaction, which is important in evaluating the sequence of core disruptive accidents (CDAs) for metallic fuel fast reactors, basic experiments were carried out using molten metallic fuel simulants (copper and silver) and a sodium pool.
Fragmentation of a molten metal jet with a solid crust was caused by internal pressure produced by the boiling of sodium, which is locally entrapped inside the jet due to hydrodynamic motion between the jet and the coolant. The superheating and the latent heat of fusion of the jet are the principal factors governing this type of thermal fragmentation. On the other hand, the effect of the initial sodium temperature is regarded as negligible in the case of thermal conditions expected to result in CDAs for practical metallic fuel cores. Based on the fragmentation data for several kinds of jets (Cu, Ag, SUS, U, and U-5 wt% Zr alloy), an empirical correlation is proposed that is applicable to the calculation of a mass median diameter of fragments produced by the thermal fragmentation of the jet with a solid crust under low ambient Weber number conditions.