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Challenges and outcomes from prototypic corium experiments within the safest european consortium

Abstract : Severe accident with core meltdown is a threat to the containment integrity. As Chernobyl and Fukushima accidents demonstrate, significant release of radioactive products into the environment can cause severe consequences to health, the environment and the economy. Corium is the molten material formed after meltdown of a nuclear reactor core during a severe accident. In order to improve the understanding and modelling of corium behavior, experiments are needed both for LWRs and GenIV fast reactors. As it is not feasible to simulate all the aspects of corium phenomenology, especially its high temperature physico-chemistry, there is the need for prototypic corium experiments with depleted uranium, even though it implies a series of protective and regulatory measures. Within the European SAFEST consortium on severe accidents and corium experimental research a number of facilities operate with prototypic corium KROTOS, MERELAVA,VITI, VULCANO, FLF, COMETA, SICOPS and CODEX,. Many technological challenges arise in heating, measuring and containing such high temperature material. The limited availability of thermodynamic and thermophysical properties for these materials is also a difficulty whereas it must be stressed that there is not one unique corium composition but a large spectrum of compositions depending on accident scenarios.Nevertheless, prototypic material experimental research has already provided numerous insights to the understanding of corium behavior, such, as among others, data on fuel element and melt oxidation processes and kinetics, material effects affecting steam explosion or molten core concrete interaction, efficiency of corium spreading, In the frame of the SAFEST European project, current experimental capabilities are being upgraded, thanks to improvements in high temperature metrology, corium material analyses, measurement of corium thermophysical properties such as electrical properties as well as insights on scaling laws.New prototypic corium experiments are planned in Europe such as PLINIUS2 (CEA).
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  • HAL Id : cea-02437047, version 1

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C. Journeau, V. Bouyer, N Cassiaut-Louis, P. Fouquart, N. Chikhi, et al.. Challenges and outcomes from prototypic corium experiments within the safest european consortium. The Nuclear Materials Conference (NuMat 2016), Nov 2016, Montpellier, France. ⟨cea-02437047⟩

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