In?Calandria Retention of Corium in PHWR: Experimental Investigation and Remaining Issues

[+] Author and Article Information
Sumit Vishnu Prasad

Reactor Engineering Division, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Trombay, Mumbai 400085, India

Arun Nayak

Reactor Engineering Division, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Trombay, Mumbai 400085, India

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4035691 History: Received July 08, 2016; Revised December 13, 2016


After the Fukushima accident, the public has expressed concern regarding the safety of nuclear power plants. This accident has strengthened the necessity for further improvement of safety in the design of existing and future nuclear power plants. Pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs) have a high level of defence in depth (DiD) philosophy to achieve the safety goal. It is necessary for designers to demonstrate the capability of decay heat removal and integrity of containment in a PHWR reactor for prolonged station blackout to avoid any release of radioactivity in public domain. As the design of PHWRs is distinct, its calandria vessel and vault cooling water offer passive heat sinks for such accident scenarios and submerged calandria vessel offers inherent in-calandria retention features. Study shows that, in case of severe accident in PHWR, in-calandria retention (ICR) is only option is to contain the corium inside the calandria vessel by cooling it from outside using the calandria vault water to avoid release of radioactivity to public domain. There are critical issues on ICR of corium that have to be resolved for successful demonstration of ICR strategy and regulatory acceptance. This paper tries to investigate some of the critical issues of ICR of corium. The present study focuses on experimental investigation of the coolability of molten corium with and without simulated decay heat and thermal behaviour of calandria vessel performed in scaled facilities of an Indian PHWR.

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