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A MELCOR Application to Two Light Water Reactor Nuclear Power Plant Core Melt Scenarios with Assumed Cavity Flooding Action

Francisco Martín-Fuertes, Juan Manuel Martín-Valdepeñas, José Mira, María Jesús Sánchez

Nuclear Technology

Volume 144 / Number 1 / October 2003 / Pages 34-48


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The MELCOR 1.8.4 code Bottom Head package has been applied to simulate two reactor cavity flooding scenarios for when the corium material relocates to the lower-plenum region in postulated severe accidents. The applications were preceded by a review of two main physical models, which highly impacted the results. A model comparison to available bibliography models was done, which allowed some code modifications on selected default assumptions to be undertaken. First, the corium convective heat transfer to the wall when it becomes liquid was modified, and second, the default nucleate boiling regime curve in a submerged hemisphere was replaced by a new curve (and, to a much lesser extent, the critical heat flux curve was slightly varied).

The applications were devoted to two prototypical light water reactor nuclear power plants, a 2700-MW(thermal) pressurized water reactor (PWR) and a 1381-MW(thermal) boiling water reactor (BWR). The main conclusions of the cavity flooding simulations were that the PWR lower-head survivability is extended although it is clearly not guaranteed, while in the BWR sequence the corium seems to be successfully arrested in the lower plenum.

Three applications of the CFX 4.4 computational fluid dynamics code were carried out in the context of the BWR scenario to support the first modification of the aforementioned two scenarios for MELCOR.

Finally, in the same BWR context, a statistic predictor of selected output parameters as a function of input parameters is presented, which provides reasonable results when compared to MELCOR full calculations in much shorter CPU processing times.

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