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Analysis of Reactivity Insertion Accidents for the NIST Research Reactor Before and After Fuel Conversion

J. S. Baek, A. Cuadra, L.-Y. Cheng, A. L. Hanson, N. R. Brown, and D. J. Diamond

Nuclear Technology

Volume 185 / Number 1 / January 2014 / Pages 1-20


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Reactivity insertion accidents have been analyzed for the 20-MW D2O-moderated research reactor (NBSR) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The analysis has been carried out for the present core, which contains highly enriched uranium fuel, and for a proposed equilibrium core with low-enriched uranium fuel. The time-dependent analysis of the primary system is performed with a RELAP5 model that includes the reactor vessel, primary coolant pump, heat exchanger, fuel element geometry, and flow channels for both the 6 inner and 24 outer fuel elements. Postprocessing of the simulation results has been conducted to evaluate minimum critical heat flux (CHF) ratio and minimum onset of flow instability (OFI) ratio using the Sudo-Kaminaga correlations and Saha-Zuber criteria, respectively. Evaluations are carried out for the control rod withdrawal start-up accident and the maximum reactivity insertion accident. In both cases the RELAP5 results indicate that no damage to the fuel will occur and there is adequate margin to CHF and OFI because of sufficient coolant flow through the fuel channels and the negative reactivity insertion due to scram.

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