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Transport Characteristics of Selected Pressurized Water Reactor LOCA-Generated Debris

Arup K. Maji, Daseri V. Rao, Bruce Letellier, Luke Bartlein, Brooke Marshall

Nuclear Technology

Volume 139 / Number 2 / August 2002 / Pages 145-155


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In the unlikely event of a loss-of-coolant accident (LOCA) in a pressurized water reactor, break jet impingement would dislodge thermal insulation from nearby piping, as well as other materials within the containment, such as paint chips, concrete dust, and fire barrier materials. Steam/water flows induced by the break and by the containment sprays would transport debris to the containment floor. Subsequently, debris would likely transport to and accumulate on the suction sump screens of the emergency core cooling system (ECCS) pumps, thereby potentially degrading ECCS performance and possibly even failing the ECCS.

A systematic study was conducted on various types of fibrous and metallic foil debris to determine their transport in water. Test results reported include incipient movement, bulk movement, accumulation on a screen, the ability of debris to jump over 5-cm (2-in.) and 15-cm (6-in.) curbs, and the effects of accelerating flow and turbulence. These data are currently being used in conjunction with computational fluid dynamics modeling to determine the potential for each debris type to reach the suction screen.

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