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Results of a Full-Scale Liquid-Metal Leak Test in a Neutron Spallation Source Containment

K. Samec

Nuclear Technology / Volume 162 / Number 3 / June 2008 / Pages 358-378

Technical Paper / Accelerators /

A significant milestone in the Megapie project, the world's first liquid-metal neutron spallation source, was reached when its containment structure was proof tested in a full-scale liquid-metal leak experiment. The experimental apparatus used in testing the effects of a liquid-metal leak of lead-bismuth eutectic on a heavy-water-cooled confinement at full scale is described. Measurements taken during the experiment validated the design chosen for the containment, a water-cooled aluminium double hull, and demonstrated that the experimental apparatus was capable of reproducing an accidental leak. The data acquired during this one-off experiment can be used in the future to assess liquid-metal leaks analytically.

In the event of a catastrophic failure in the spallation source, the experiment proved that the products of the ensuing liquid-metal leak would be safely contained and cooled. Furthermore, analytical methods used in predicting the outcome of a leak were validated. Indeed, transient fluid-dynamics, thermal and thermostructural calculations performed ahead of the test to predict temperatures and stresses in the aluminum containment and temperatures of the cooling loop agreed well with measurements.

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