Nuclear Technology / Volume 192 / Number 1 / October 2015 / Pages 1-10
Technical Paper / Fission Reactors / dx.doi.org/10.13182/NT14-51
Following an accidental event in a nuclear pressurized water reactor, involving the loss of primary-side forced coolant flow, the core decay heat is generally removed through a natural circulation convection process. The cooldown of the reactor coolant system is carried out through the secondary-side heat sink following prescribed guidelines. However, under asymmetric primary-side cooling conditions, natural circulation interruption (NCI) in the loops with an inactive steam generator may take place. Under such conditions, the cooldown of the primary side may be hindered and the transient may evolve toward a degraded state. The NCI issue was recently addressed within the thermal-hydraulic experimental projects ROSA-2 and PKL-2 of the Nuclear Energy Agency of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The objective was to identify the conditions that may lead to the occurrence of NCI, to develop cooldown procedures that prevent the occurrence of NCI, and to assess the thermal-hydraulic code capabilities in predicting this phenomenon. In the current study, NCI experimental tests carried out in the LSTF (Large Scale Test Facility) and PKL (Primaer-KreisLauf) facilities are assessed using the best-estimate thermal-hydraulic system codes CATHARE and ATHLET. The simulation results are presented and conclusions are derived accordingly.