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Thermal Behavior of the Reactor Vessel Penetration Under External Vessel Cooling During a Severe Accident

Kyoung-Ho Kang, Rae-Joon Park, Jong-Tae Kim, Byung-Tae Min, Ki-Young Lee, Sang-Baik Kim

Nuclear Technology

Volume 145 / Number 1 / January 2004 / Pages 57-66


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Experimental and analytical studies on the thermal behavior of reactor vessel penetration have been performed under external vessel cooling during a severe accident in the Korean next-generation reactor APR1400. Two types of tests, SUS-EXT and SUS-DRY with and without external vessel cooling, respectively, have been performed using sustained heating by an induction heater. Three tests have been carried out varying the cooling conditions at the vessel outer surface in the SUS-EXT tests. The experimental results have been thermally estimated using the LILAC computer code. The experimental results indicate that the inner surface of the vessel was ablated by the 45-mm thickness in the SUS-DRY test. Despite the total ablation of the welding material, the penetration was not ejected outside the vessel, which could be attributed to the thermal expansion of the penetration. Unlike the SUS-DRY test, the thickness of the ablation was ~15 to 20 mm at most, so the welding was preserved in the SUS-EXT tests. It is concluded from the experimental results that the external vessel cooling highly affected the ablation configuration and the thermal behaviors of the vessel and the penetration. An increase in coolant mass flow rate from 0.047 to 0.152 kg/s had effects on the thermal behavior of the lower head vessel and penetration in the SUS-EXT tests. The LILAC analytical results on temperature distribution and ablation depth in the lower head vessel and penetration were very similar to the experimental results.

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