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Nonlinear Dynamics and Stability of Boiling Water Reactors: Part 2 - Quantitative Analysis

Jose March-Leuba, Dan G. Cacuci, Rafael B. Perez

Nuclear Science and Engineering

Volume 93 / Number 2 / June 1986 / Pages 124-136


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A physical model of nonlinear boiling water reactor (BWR) dynamics has been developed and employed to calculate the amplitude of limit cycle oscillations and their effects on fuel integrity over a wide range of operating conditions in the Vermont Yankee reactor. These calculations have confirmed that, beyond the threshold for linear stability, the reactor's state variables undergo limit cycle oscillations. This work shows that the amplitudes of these oscillations are very sensitive to changes in operating conditions and are not restricted to small magnitudes as observed in previous stability tests. Consequently, large-amplitude limit cycle oscillations become a possible scenario for BWR operation at low-flow conditions. The effects on fuel integrity of such large-amplitude oscillations have been studied in detail. In particular, it has been shown that limit cycles that oscillate with frequencies higher than 0.25 Hz and that reach the high-power safety scram level of 120% are not likely to compromise fuel integrity.

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