Nuclear Technology / Volume 170 / Number 1 / April 2010 / Pages 219-230
Technical Paper / Special Issue on the 2008 International Congress on Advances in Nuclear Power Plants / Thermal Hydraulics
Characteristics of corium debris beds formed in a severe core melt accident are studied in the Debris Bed Formation-Snapshot (DEFOR-S) test campaign, in which superheated binary-oxidic melts (both eutectic and noneutectic compositions) as the corium simulants are discharged into a water pool. Water subcooling and pool depth are found to significantly influence the debris fragments' morphology and agglomeration. When particle agglomeration is absent, the tests produced debris beds with porosity of [approximately]60 to 70%. This porosity is significantly higher than the [approximately]40% porosity broadly used in contemporary analysis of corium debris coolability in light water reactor severe accidents. The impact of debris formation on corium coolability is further complicated by debris fragments' sharp edges, roughened surfaces, and cavities that are partially or fully encapsulated within the debris fragments. These observations are made consistently in both the DEFOR-S experiments and other tests with prototypic and simulant corium melts. Synthesis of the debris fragments from the DEFOR-S tests conducted under different melt and coolant conditions reveal trends in particle size, particle sphericity, surface roughness, sharp edges, and internal porosity as functions of water subcooling and melt composition. Qualitative analysis and discussion reaffirm the complex interplay between contributing processes (droplet interfacial instability and breakup, droplet cooling and solidification, cavity formation and solid fracture) on particle morphology and, consequently, on the characteristics of the debris beds.