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CAST3M/ARCTURUS: A coupled heat transfer CFD code for thermal–hydraulic analyzes of gas cooled reactors

Abstract : The safety of gas-cooled reactors (High Temperature Reactors HTR, Very High Temperature Reactors VHTR or Gas cooled Fast Reactors GFR) must be ensured by systems (active or passive) which maintain loads on component (fuel) and structures (vessel, containment) within acceptable limits under accidental conditions. To achieve this objective, thermal-hydraulics computer codes are necessary tools to design, enhance the performance and ensure a high safety level of the different reactors. Some key safety questions are related to the evaluation of decay heat removal and containment pressure and thermal loads. This requires accurate simulations of conduction, convection, thermal radiation transfers and energy storage. Coupling with neutronics is also an important modelling aspect for the determination of representative parameters such as neutronics coefficient (Doppler coefficient, Moderation coefficient),critical position of control rods, reactivity insertion aspects For GFR, the high power density of the core and its necessary reduced dimension cannot rely only on passive systems for decay heat removal. Therefore, forced convection using active safety systems (gas blowers, heat exchangers) are highly recommended. Nevertheless, in case of station black-out, the safety demonstration of the concept should be guaranteed by natural circulation heat removal. This could be performed by keeping a relatively high back-up pressure for pure helium convection and also by heavy gas injection. So, it is also necessary to model mixing of different gases, the on-set of natural convection and the pressure and thermal loads onto the proximate or guard containment. In this paper, we report on the developments of the CAST3M-ARCTURUS thermal-hydraulics (Lumped Parameter and CFD) code developed at CEA, including its coupling to the neutronics code CRONOS2 and the system code CATHARE. Elementary validation cases are detailed, as well as application of the code to benchmark problems such as the HTR-10 thermal-hydraulic exercise. Examples of containment thermal-hydraulics calculations for fast reactor design (GFR) are also detailed.
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E. Studer, A. Beccantini, S. Gounand, F. Dabbene, Jp. P Magnaud, et al.. CAST3M/ARCTURUS: A coupled heat transfer CFD code for thermal–hydraulic analyzes of gas cooled reactors. Nuclear Engineering and Design, Elsevier, 2006, 237 (15-17), pp.1814-1828. ⟨10.1016/j.nucengdes.2007.03.016⟩. ⟨cea-02355754⟩



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