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Annals of Nuclear Energy 85 (2015) 869878

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Annals of Nuclear Energy


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/anucene

Simultaneous multiple reactivity insertions in a typical MTR-type


research reactor having U3Si2Al fuel
Rubina Nasir a, Muhammad Kamran Butt b, Sikander M. Mirza c, Nasir M. Mirza c,
a
Department of Physics, Air University, PAF Complex, E-9, Islamabad 44000, Pakistan
b
Department of Nuclear Engineering, Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences (PIEAS), Nilore, Islamabad 45650, Pakistan
c
Department of Physics and Applied Mathematics, Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences (PIEAS), Nilore, Islamabad 45650, Pakistan

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: Safety assessment for simultaneous multiple reactivity insertions in a typical research reactor having low
Received 5 January 2015 enriched, high density (U3Si2Al) fuel has been done using modied PARET code. As a rst step, the effect
Received in revised form 11 June 2015 of single reactivity ramps on power and temperatures during transients showed good agreement with
Accepted 2 July 2015
already published data. Then simulation of transients for multiple reactivity insertions were carried
Available online 15 July 2015
out and the effects on reactor power, net reactivity of the system, and temperatures (fuel, clad and
coolant) were studied. The simultaneous reactivity insertions included ramp reactivity (large and small)
Keywords:
and beam tube ooding, a ramp reactivity and a core movement and a ramp reactivity and a sample
Low Enriched Uranium core
Research reactors
ejection accident respectively. When simultaneously two different reactivity insertion transients are
U3Si2Al fuel coupled in the reactor under uncontrolled conditions, the self-control of the reactor decreases. The power
Multiple ramp reactivity transient and temperatures show several peaks and it oscillates along with the net reactivity of the system within
the rst second of the accident.
2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction In the RA-2 critical facility in Argentina a super-prompt critical


excursion occurred in September 1983. This accident took place
One of the major safety concerns in research reactors is the clad while the reactor core was being recongured through a series of
meltdown which can release the ssion product activity to the fuel shufing all assumed to be in the sub-critical state
environment. Large reactivity insertions can originate such (Waldman and Vertullo, 1987). This accident emphasized the
accidents. Initial efforts were made to determine reactivity inser- signicance of the assessment of safety limits for the reactivity
tion limits for various research reactors both experimentally and insertion in research reactors.
theoretically for single reactivity accidents. Also, the transient The Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactor (RERTR)
response of various types of cores was carried out by series of tests program was started to covert Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU)
under the Special Power Excursion Reactor Test (SPERT) program, cores to new Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) cores. Then several
which consisted of experiments conducted at the national reactor studies were carried out to nd effects of single reactivity, power
testing station Idaho, USA (Cardell et al., 1967). The PARET program and ow rate induced reactor accidents (Housiadas, 2000; Iqbal
was also developed as a part of the SPERT program to study reactor et al., 1997; Metos et al., 1992; Mirza et al., 1998; Mirza, 1997;
transients theoretically (Obenchain, 1969). The code validation Nasir et al., 1999; Salama and El-Morshedy, 2012). Metos et al.,
was performed by comparing its predictions with the actual exper- studied the transient response of the High Enriched Uranium
iments in various SPERT cores. The computed values of the reactor (HEU) fueled core, Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) fueled core and
power at the peak burst using the PARET code showed a good mixed cores for ramp insertions of reactivity. In their studies, they
agreement with the corresponding experimental data. The used generic 10 MW MTR cores along with theoretically calculated
transient responses of the B-12/64 and D-12/25 SPERT cores were estimates of the reactivity feedback coefcients. Similarly, a series
estimated using the PARET code and good agreements was found of benchmark transients for IAEA 10 MW research reactor have
between the computed and the experimentally measured results been analyzed using a simulation model. They studied single ramp
(Cullen et al., 1986). reactivity transients with initial power set at one Watt and scram
level at 12 MW (Gaheen et al., 2007). Their computed values for
Corresponding author. Tel.: +92 51 924 8701; fax: +92 51 924 8600. peak reactor power, and clad peak temperatures by using RELAP5
E-mail addresses: nasirmm@yahoo.com, nmm@pieas.edu.pk (N.M. Mirza). and RETRAC-PC showed good agreements. Moreover, the analysis

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anucene.2015.07.003
0306-4549/ 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
870 R. Nasir et al. / Annals of Nuclear Energy 85 (2015) 869878

of the reactivity insertion for the IAEA 10 MW reactor and the frequency reactivity induced accidents by assuming that all safety
Egypts second Research Reactor (ETRR-2) was carried out under features have failed during initial phase of accident.
super prompt-critical transients (Khater et al., 2007). They con- This work aims at the analysis of simultaneously two different
cluded that ETRR-2 core can withstand the uncontrolled with- reactivity insertions that are coupled in the reactor under
drawal of a control rod. uncontrolled conditions, for a typical MTR type reactor having high
Recently, single reactivity insertion accidents at startup for the density U3Si2Al fuel. Using parameters of IAEA benchmark 10 MW
IAEA 10 MW MTR system were studied using the MERSAT MTR type systems with LEU core, the modied PARET code was
computer code (Hainoun et al., 2010). For the range of inserted employed to simulate such transients. In rst part single ramp
ramp reactivity values, for only $1.5/0.5 s value the peak power reactivity insertions (from $0.2/0.5 s to $1.4/0.5 s) were studied
reached the highest value of 133.66 MW in 0.625 s and subse- and results were compared with the published data. Then
quently sub-cooled boiling and void formation occurred. Simulations were carried out for multiple failures in the same
Comparison of peak values showed good agreement with results system (IAEA Benchmark 10 MW (IAEA, 1980, 1992)). Multiple-
from the RELAP5/Mod 3.2 and the PARET codes. and simultaneous-reactivity insertion scenarios included a ramp
Similarly, the transient behavior of an MTR fueled with high reactivity (large and small) plus a beam tube ooding, a ramp reac-
density dispersion fuels was reported by many researchers tivity plus a core movement, and a ramp reactivity plus a sample
(Mirza et al., 1998; Muhammad and Majid, 2009a,b; Nasir et al., ejection accident respectively. When simultaneously two different
1999). Muhammad and Majid reported detailed neutronics and reactivity insertions are coupled in the reactor under uncontrolled
thermal hydraulic analysis for research reactor cores conditions, the self-control of the reactor system goes down. It was
(Muhammad and Majid, 2009b). In their work many scenarios hypothetically assumed that the control rod derive mechanism
were simulated for the transient behavior of an MTR e.g. controlled malfunctioned and control rods ejected from the core (partially
large and small reactivity induced accidents (Muhammad and or fully out position) and got stuck there which posed a ramp type
Majid, 2009a), controlled fast and slow loss of ow accidents and positive reactivity insertion into the core or a fuel element got
uncontrolled large and small reactivity induced accidents inserted into the water holes. Then at the same time another com-
(Muhammad and Majid, 2009b), uncontrolled fast and slow loss ponent failure occurred and it led to another reactivity insertion
of ow accidents (Muhammad and Majid, 2010). Controlled simultaneously. These credible accidents due to multiple compo-
scenarios are the one in which safety system trip is enabled where nent failures at same time were simulated for various ramp inser-
uncontrolled are the one in which safety system trip is disabled. tions and their effects on power, net reactivity of the system, fuel
In order to assess the point neutron kinetic model of the and clad temperatures were studied.
RELAP5/Mod3 code, single reactivity transients in the IAEA
MTR system have been studied recently (Hamidouche and
2. Reactor description
Bousbia-Salah, 2010). They inserted $1.5/0.5 s super prompt
positive reactivity in an initially critical reactor at one watt power
The IAEA have devised a benchmark MTR type reactor design
level with scram set at 12 MW. The predicted power transient
and many theoretical analysis have been reported in its core con-
modeled by using RELAP5/Mod3 was compared with the corre-
version guide books (IAEA, 1980, 1992). This system is a pool type
sponding values by the RETRAC-PC (Hamidouche et al., 2002)
reactor with high density low enriched uranium (U3Si2Al) fuel. All
and the PARET code (Woodruff, 1982). They concluded that the
the other design parameters are the same as that of HEU fueled
RELAP5 point kinetics model yields unphysical power evolution
research reactors. A summary of the design and thermal hydraulic
for some values of time step.
parameters for the LEU core is given in Table 1.
The Pakistan Research Reactor-I (PARR-I) was also upgraded
Reactor has nominal power of 10 MW. It has 5  6 matrix (as
from 5 MW HEU to 9 MW LEU core under the international
shown in Fig. 1) in which 21 fuel element and 4 control fuel ele-
RERTR program. Extensive experimental measurements of various
ment can t in. Reactor core is reected by Graphite on two oppo-
parameters of the upgraded Pakistan Research Reactor-1 (PARR-I)
site sides with a thickness of one fuel element. Pool water is light
core were carried out including the measurement of various coef-
water. Core has ve ux traps. One ux trap is at the center of the
cients of reactivity (Iqbal et al., 1997). These measurements show
core where the other four water boxes are at each corner of the
that for the PARR-I upgraded core, the fuel temperature coefcient
core. The central ux trap has aluminum box of dimensions of
of reactivity is about 21% lower as compared to HEU type.
7.7 cm  8.1 cm. This box has a square water hole of dimensions
Similarly, the void coefcient of reactivity is about 31% higher
5.0 cm  5.0 cm. The central ux trap is surrounded by two half
and the moderator temperature coefcient of reactivity is about
Standard Fuel Assemblies which serve as single Assembly taken
24% lower as compared with the corresponding previous estimates
together for thermal hydraulics point of view.
for HEU core. Also, the rod drop times and both the differential and
the integral worth of the PARR-I control rods have also been mea-
sured experimentally (Iqbal et al., 1997; Mirza et al., 1998). Table 1
Simulations showed that the LEU core is more sensitive to pertur- Comparison of design parameters for IAEA benchmark cores.
bations at low power as compared to transients at full power Parameter IAEA benchmark
(Mirza et al., 1998).
LEU core HEU core
Many postulated accidents are rejected on probabilistic grounds
Rated power (MW) 10 10
that their probability is extremely low and safety system will take
Fuel type U3Si2 UAlx
care of such situations. All MTR type reactors have safety systems Clad type Al Al
and operating procedures to safeguard against single and Plates per standard element 23 23
successive accidents. The safety systems include overpower trip Plates per control element 17 17
and low ow trip along with engineered safety features. The over- Number of standard fuel elements 23 21
Number of control fuel elements 5 5
power trip level will occur at 115% of the normal power level and Fuel meat thickness (mm) 0.51 0.51
ow trip will happen at low ow near 90% of the normal coolant Clad thickness (mm) 0.38 0.38
ow rate. Also, accidents which can result from a combination of Water channel width (mm) 2.19 2.19
independent simultaneous events are ignored due to their low fre- U-235 (g) per plate 17.0 12.2
Coolant ow rate (m3/h) 1000 1000
quency of happening. In this work, we have considered very low
R. Nasir et al. / Annals of Nuclear Energy 85 (2015) 869878 871

Fig. 1. The core conguration of a typical 10 MW MTR-type system (a) assembly-wise power values (MW), cross sectional view of (b) standard fuel assembly and (c) control
fuel assembly with all dimensions given in cm.

Table 2 with thermal and hydrodynamic equations (Obenchain, 1969).


Thermal conductivity and heat capacities for the fuel and clad materials used in One-dimensional conductive heat transfer from the fuel to clad
various systems. and the convective heat transfer from the clad surface to the cool-
Fuel meat/clad Thermal conductivity Heat capacity ant are solved by this code for all of the specied number of node.
material (W/m K) (J/cm3 K)* The PARET code does allow both the natural convection as well as
LEU (U3Si2Al) 50 1.929 + 0.0007 T the force ow of the coolant in the hydrodynamic calculations;
HEU (UAlxAl) 158 2.072 + 0.0011 T however, we have selected the forced ow option for the present
LOX (U3O8Al) 11 2.072 + 0.0011 T study. The code automatically switches from the normal convec-
Clad (Al-6061) 180 2.069 + 0.0012 T
tive heat transfer model to the nucleate, transition or stable lm
*
Cp = a + bT, where, T is in K degree. boiling models depending on the local values of the coolant
temperature.
For the low enriched uranium core, the two-channel model was
Standard Fuel Element (SFE) of IAEA Benchmark 10 MW MTR used to analyze the core; one channel representing the hottest
uses UAlxAl fuel with uranium density of 4.40 g/cm3. Total plate and ow channel while the other average channel represent-
amount of ssile material is 390 g since enrichment is 20%. It has ing the remaining fuel plates in volume weighted sense. Each ow
23 identical fuel plates. Each fuel plate has thickness of 1.27 mm channel with the entrance effects was selected to contain 21 axial
and coolant channel width of 2.19 mm. Control Fuel Element and 7 radial nodes for all transients. The axial source distribution
(CFE) is similar to the SFE with a small difference. It has 17 fuels was represented by 21 axial regions and a chopped cosine shape
plates rather than 23 as in SFE. It has four plates of aluminum at which has an axial power peaking factor of 1.5 for both the average
positions of 1st, 3rd, 21st, and 23rd. Each plate has a thickness of channel and the hot channel. For the hot channel, this axial distri-
1.27 mm. CFE has 288.3 g of ssile content. A summary of the bution was multiplied by the other specied hot channel factors
design and thermal hydraulic parameters for the LEU core is given i.e. 1.4 nuclear and 1.2 engineering. For the moderator heat source
in Table 1. Similar details for the HEU and LEU cores also shown in description, the assumption was made that 4.5% of the total energy
Table 1. Thermal conductivities and heat capacities for various was being deposited directly in the moderator. A linear approxima-
fuel/clad systems are compared in Table 2. For LEU fuel the thermal tion was used for all of the reactivity feedback coefcients. The
conductivity is low as compared to the HEU fuel; however the heat reactivity coefcients are shown as Table 3. Also, for the transients
capacity remains comparable as shown in Table 2. studied in this work, the reactor was assumed initially (i) at full
power of ten MW or (ii) at one W, for startup scenario.
3. Theoretical model For the current study, the correlations used in the PARET code
were SeiderTate correlation for single phase ow, JensLottes cor-
The PARET code has been used for the simulation of reactivity relation for two phase ow, original PARET model for transient two
transients, which employs the coupled point kinetic model along phase ow, and original PARET model for DNB calculations. The
872 R. Nasir et al. / Annals of Nuclear Energy 85 (2015) 869878

Table 3 domain of interest at each time step. The MIM model uses channel
Reactivity coefcients and other parameters for the IAEA benchmark cores. averaged mass ow rate in the momentum equation (Woodruff,
Parameter IAEA benchmark core 1982). Also, the coolant properties once evaluated at some refer-
LEU HEU ence pressure are assumed temperature dependent only for the
rst step and the same values are used throughout the rest of cal-
Coolant temperature ($/C) 7.311  105 1.046  103
Void/density ($/% void) 0.27 0.21
culations. The pressure drop across the core is a complex function
Doppler ($/C) 2.47  105 6.0  107 of the channel geometry, ow rate and coolant phase. The PARET
beff (%) 0.731 0.758 code uses a detailed model for these evaluations and incorporates
K (l s) 42.4 54.6 the results of these calculations throughout the transient. Time
step control was varied to achieve the optimum CPU time and
small error.
departure from nucleate boiling and ow instabilities have been The PARET code is generally not applicable to situations where
modeled by using original Departure from Nucleate Boiling there is a strong spacetime coupling of neutron ux. The code also
(DNB) correlation and for obtaining a single phase ow, the revised uses steady-state heat transfer correlation and it is limited in its
model for the laminar ow with the entrance effects has been prediction of thermal crisis by the fact that it employs the
selected (Obenchain, 1969; Woodruff et al., 1996). As described steady-state DNB correlation (Woodruff, 1982, 1984). Also it uses
earlier that the neutronics parameters were taken from already an incompressible hydrodynamic model and a simplied void vol-
published work (Muhammad, 2009). ume generation equation. Therefore, hydrodynamic outputs of
PARET code should be interpreted as qualitative indicators.
3.1. Thermal and hydrodynamic model However, comparison of PARET/ANL and RELAP/Mod3.3 codes for
the several reactivity transients have shown that the predictions
The MTR core was discretized into 21 axial and 7 radial nodes of PARET code are fairly close to the RELAP/Mod3.3 (Woodruff
per channel and the calculations for the heat conduction through et al., 1996).
the fuel meat and clad were performed using the modied PARET
code. For the heat transfer across the clad-coolant interface, the 3.2. Reactor physics model
local ow and temperature dependent correlation were employed.
The values of the thermal conductivity and heat capacity used in The reactor dynamics is based on point kinetic model equations
calculations are shown in Table 2, respectively and design/thermal with continuous reactivity feedback from the thermal and hydro-
hydraulic data is given as Table 4. The coolant ow and the convec- dynamic model in the PARET code. The point reactivity assump-
tive heat transfer problem was solved by employing the modied tions have been found to be true for small cores. The governing
momentum integral method (MIM) in the PARET code which equations for the reactor power, P, and the number of precursors
solves the governing mass, momentum and energy conservation in the reactor, C i , are following:
equations along with the pressure balance equation for the entire
dPt qt  b X6
Pt ki C i t 1
dt K i1
Table 4
Design and thermal hydraulic parameters of LEU core of IAEA 10 MW benchmark MTR
Muhammad, 2009. dC i t bi
Pt ki C i t; i 1; 2; 3; . . . ; 6 2
Parameter Value
dt K
Active core height 60.0 cm where, b and bi are the total and ith group delayed neutron frac-
Space at the grid plate per fuel 7.7 cm  8.1 cm tions, respectively. The neutron generation time is K and the ki is
element the decay constant for ith group precursors. For the super-prompt
Fuel element cross-section 7.6 cm  8.05 cm including support
critical transients, the delayed neutrons play only a minor role
plate
Meat dimensions 6.3 cm  0.051 cm  60.0 cm and under the prompt critical approximation, the above equations
Thickness of support plate 0.475 cm reduce to (Ott and Neuho1d, 1985):
Number of fuel plates per fuel 23 identical plates, each 0.127 cm thick
element dPt qt  b
Pt 3
Number of fuel plates per control 17 identical plates, each 0.127 cm thick dt K
element
Identication of the remaining 4 plates of aluminum, each 0.127 cm
The time dependent reactivity q(t) appearing in both Eqs. (1)
plate positions of the control thick in the position of the rst, the and (3) is composed of two parts: the externally controlled reactiv-
element third, the twenty-rst, and the twenty- ity and the reactivity feedbacks coming from the Doppler broaden-
third standard plate position; water gaps ing of resonances in the fuel, effects of moderator temperature and
between the two sets of aluminum
the void temperature effects. For the neutronic model, six groups of
plates.
Specications of the LEU fuel Enrichment 20 w/o U-235; 390 g U-235 delayed neutrons have been used in this study. The respective val-
(qu = 4.40 g/cm3) per fuel element (23 ues of the reactivity coefcients, b, and K for HEU and LEU cores
plates) are shown in Table 3 (Iqbal et al., 1997; Nasir et al., 1999). In these
Mass of U in core (kg) 46.7372
calculations a single ramp reactivity insertions were modeled by
Total power 10 MWth
the following function:
Thermal hydraulic data: 8
Volumetric ow rate (m3/h) 1000
<0
> for t 6 0
Mass ow rate (kg/s) 275.97
Core ow area (m2)
qt ct for 0 6 t 6 Dt 4
0.0788 >
:
Core inlet temperature (C) 38 qm for t P Dt
Core outlet temperature (C) 47.6
Pressure at core mid-plane (kPa) 170 where, c is the ramp rate, Dt is the time duration for which the
Saturation temperature (C) 115.1 ramp is applied and qm is the nal inserted reactivity. Similarly,
Heat transfer area (m2) 39.91
multiple simultaneous ramp reactivity insertions were modeled
Average heat ux (W/cm2) 25.06
by the following function:
R. Nasir et al. / Annals of Nuclear Energy 85 (2015) 869878 873

8
<0
> for t 6 0
qt ct bt for 0 6 t 6 t1 5
>
:
qm for t P t 1
where, c is the ramp rate between time t = 0 and t1 due to rst ramp
and b is the rate due to second simultaneous accident type. Then
second ramp is applied without any delay time and qm is the nal
inserted reactivity.

4. Results and discussion

First, the effects of a single ramp reactivity insertion in the core


have been analyzed by using the PARET code and effects on total
system reactivity, power and clad temperature were studied.
Then simulation for multiple reactivity insertion transients were
carried out for U3Si2Al fueled system and effects on power, net
reactivity, DNBR and temperatures were studied. In this work,
the proposed accidental scenarios which may occur as simultane-
ous accidents in a MTR are the following:

Senario 1: Large and small ramp reactivity insertion plus beam


tube ooding;
Senario 2: Ramp reactivity insertion plus a core movement star-
tup accident;
Senario 3: Ramp reactivity insertion plus a sample ejection
accident.

4.1. Single reactivity transient

In this part, a single ramp reactivity insertion was studied for


the MTR type (LEU, U3Si2Al Fueled) system. The reactor was oper-
ating at full power (10 MW) and scram was disabled. Using PARET
code, insertion of a single ramp reactivity was carried out and tran- Fig. 2. (a) Net reactivity and (b) power (MW) as a function of time during for
sient was analyzed. The PARET code performed coupled point various single ramp reactivity insertions in U3Si2Al fueled LEU core (initial
power = 10 MW; scram was disabled).
kinetics and thermal hydraulics calculations including ow rate,
pressure drop, heat conduction and convection calculations. The
coolant was taken at 170 kPa at inlet and PARET code computed The oscillations after rst peak subside after about 0.8 s and power
value of pressure drop across the core was 30.39 kPa. The ramp rises monotonically in the absence of any scram. The fuel and clad
reactivity can come from two sources: the control rods derive temperatures remain close to each other and follow nearly same
mechanism malfunctioned and control rods ejected from the core pattern in these transients. The time taken to reach the rst peak
and got stuck there which posed a ramp type positive reactivity power remains less than 0.5 s for ramp reactivity insertion of
insertion into the core or a fuel element got inserted into the water $1.4/0.5 s. Maximum clad temperatures at rst and second peak
holes. Iqbal et al. have done extensive studies for a typical MTR for are 148.8 C and 147.4 C, respectively. These results are in good
single reactivity insertions and have shown that BOC core has inte- agreement with already published data. The results for peak values
gral worth of control rods is nearly 10,760 pcm. The excess reactiv- are summarized in Table 5.
ity in such cores is about 5000 pcm for cold clean core and It was also observed that the initial power for single reactivity
3000 pcm is needed for Xe and Sm while 2000 pcm is to compen- transients affects the transient behavior. We have compared effect
sate for experimental loads and fuel burnup. The fuel drop time is of initial power at 10 MW and 1 W, respectively, for a single ramp
about 0.5 s in the core (Iqbal et al., 2001). We have used similar reactivity insertion of $1.2/0.5 s and resulting power as a function
drop time and reactivities in this work. of time is shown as Fig. 3b. When initial power is high (10 MW),
In this work, the single ramp reactivity was changed from the rst peak in power occurs much earlier (at about 0.51 s) as
$0.8/0.5 s to $1.4/0.5 s in steps and for each case the effect on compared to 0.95 s for the peak when initial power is 1 W.
power, net reactivity and temperatures was studied. Net reactivity However simulations showed that the rst peak value (49.6 MW)
and power as a function of transient time are shown as remain nearly the same for both transients.
Fig. 2a and b, respectively. The increase in the net reactivity of
the system (Fig. 2a) causes the rise in power as shown in Fig. 2b
and it in turn increases the fuel, clad and coolant temperatures, 4.2. Scenario 1: ramp reactivity insertion and beam tube ooding
respectively. Then rise in temperature produces negative feedback
in reactivity and decreases the power and temperatures. This com- These MTR type systems can have ve to six radial beam tubes.
petition in reactivity affects the power and produces the primary These beam tubes are generally plugged with shielding blocks and
peak and further oscillations (Fig. 2b). lled with demineralized water. However, when an experiment is
The rise in power translates into an accumulation of energy and to be setup, water is drained and plugs are removed. The transition
it leads to corresponding rise in the values of fuel, clad and moder- from the air lled to water lled state adds a positive reactivity
ator temperatures. The clad temperature shown in Fig. 3a rst rises into the core. In general, it is impossible to visualize an event in
to a peak and then exhibit a secondary peak as well. The rst peak which more than one beam tubes is ooded simultaneously within
shifts to lower time values when magnitude of ramp is increased. a very short duration. However, we have assumed that a crack
874 R. Nasir et al. / Annals of Nuclear Energy 85 (2015) 869878

In rst part we have studied two different transients initiated


by ramp reactivity insertion coupled with the beam tube ooding.
The rst one is small ramp reactivity insertion ($0.25/0.5 s) and the
beam tube ooding transient, and the second one is a large ramp
reactivity insertion ($1.0/0.5 s) and the beam tube ooding tran-
sient. Then in second part we have simulated the effect of change
of the ramp reactivity from $0.2/0.5 s to $1.0/0.5 s in scenario 1.

4.2.1. Small ramp + beam tube ooding


A small ramp reactivity ($0.25/0.5 s) was inserted and simulta-
neously the beam tube ooding transient was initiated. In the tube
ooding the water starts owing into the beam tube due to a hypo-
thetical crack or an accidental switching of motorized operated
valve that can ood the beam tube. This ooding can cause a pos-
itive reactivity insertion in the core. Several experiments have
shown that the beam tube can insert a positive reactivity of about
$0.5 within 0.25 s. Therefore we have assumed ooding with the
insertion rate equal to $0.5/0.25 s (Iqbal et al., 2001).
Transient response of the core to such a coupled accident under
uncontrolled conditions, have been investigated using the PARET
code for initial power level of 10 MW. The cumulative effect of
both the small ramp and beam tube ooding (0.5$/0.25 s) on
power and temperatures as a function of time are shown as
Fig. 4a and b, respectively. The reactivity rises to a peak value
and then starts decreasing slowly (Fig. 4a). The power rises to a
peak value (22.4 MW) within 0.52 s and then keeps on rising
monotonically in the absence of reactor scram. For next 100 s the
reactivity keeps on decreasing and power rises slowly to 46 MW
value. The fuel and clad temperature values (156.3 C and
146.5 C, respectively) remained far below the clad melting tem-
peratures. The coolant temperatures remained less than 110 C in

Fig. 3. (a) Clad temperatures as a function of time as a function of time during for
various single ramp reactivity insertions in U3Si2Al fueled LEU core (initial
power = 10 MW; scram was disabled); (b) comparison of power as a function of
time during transient in U3Si2Al fueled LEU core for single ramp ($1.2/0.5 s) at
initial power of 10 MW and 1 W, respectively (scram was not enabled).

Table 5
Peak power and temperatures for various single ramp reactivity transients in IAEA
benchmarked MTR type reactor having U3Si2Al fuel.a

Single ramp Power (MW) Clad temperature (C)


First peak Second peak First peak Second peak
(Time) (Time) (Time) (Time)
$1.4/0.5 s 60.9 MW 51.5 MW 148.8 C 147.4 C
(0.50 s) (0.74 s) (0.50 s) (0.74 s)
$1.2/0.5 s 49.4 MW 41.7 MW 147.1 C 145.8 C
(0.51 s) (0.77 s) (0.51 s) (0.78 s)
$1.0/0.5 s 37.5 MW 32.9 MW 143.9 C 144.1 C
(0.52 s) (0.79 s) (0.58 s) (0.87 s)
$0.8/0.5 s 27.4 MW 121.3 C
(0.51 s) (0.60 s)
a
Initial power = 10 MW; reactor scram disabled.

develops in one of the air lled beam tube having maximum reac-
tivity effects. Then it is ooding and transition from air lled to
water lled state adds a reactivity of 0.363% Dk/k. It has been
assumed that this reactivity is added within 0.25 s (Iqbal et al.,
2001). These data for Pakistan Research Reactor-I (PARR-I) is
assumed valid for the IAEA 10 MW benchmark core since PARR-I
has somewhat similar core conguration with central ux trap
and operates at 9 MW power level. In this scenario both single
ramp reactivity plus beam tube ooding occur together and the
Fig. 4. (a) Net reactivity and power (MW), (b) fuel, clad and coolant temperature as
coupled effects are analyzed. We have assumed that the reactor a function of time (during scenario 1: small ramp ($0.2/0.5 s) and beam tube
with U3Si2Al (4.10 g/cm3) fuel was operating at steady state ooding) in U3Si2Al fueled LEU core (initial power = 10 MW; scram was not
power of 10 MW and the reactor trip system was disabled. enabled).
R. Nasir et al. / Annals of Nuclear Energy 85 (2015) 869878 875

rst 100 s of transient. No nucleate boiling was observed in the


core thus there were no damaged states. The integrity of the core
remains intact as the clad surface temperature remains far below
the melting point of the clad.

4.2.2. Large ramp + beam tube ooding


Then we initiated simultaneously a large ramp reactivity of
$1.0/0.5 s along with beam tube ooding (a ramp of $0.5/0.25 s).
Again the transient response of the core to such a situation, was
investigated at power level of 10 MW without reactor scram. The
effects on power and temperatures as a function of transient time
are shown as Fig. 5a and b, respectively. During rst 0.25 s, the net
reactivity rst rises to the value of $0.8 and another peak ($0.7) is
observed before it starts decreasing. The power rises from 10 MW
to 50 MW in rst 0.3 s and then forms another peak (of 63 MW)
near 0.52 s. The fuel, clad and coolant temperature as a function
are shown as Fig. 5b, respectively. The fuel and clad peak
temperatures (157 C and 147 C, respectively) remain well below
the melting points. In this transient, the integrity of the core
remains intact as the clad surface temperature remains far below
the melting point. However the coolant started reaching at
saturation point within 0.5 s after the start of this accident and
causes nucleate boiling.

4.2.3. Effect of ramp reactivity in the scenario 1


For scenario 1, the effects of ramp reactivity were studied with
different ramps (from $0.2/0.5 s to 1.0/0.5 s) along with beam tube
ooding ($0.5/0.25 s). The effect on net reactivity and power as a
function of transient time are shown as Fig. 6a and b, respectively.
Within 0.5 s, two peaks are observed for net reactivity and power.

Fig. 5. (a) Net reactivity and power (MW), (b) fuel, clad and coolant temperature as Fig. 6. (a) Power (MW), (b) net reactivity, (c) fuel temperature and (d) clad
a function of time (during scenario 1: a large ramp ($1.0/0.5 s) and beam tube temperature as a function of time (during scenario 1: ramp and beam tube ooding)
ooding) in U3Si2Al fueled LEU core (initial power = 10 MW; scram was not for various values of ramp reactivity in U3Si2Al fueled LEU core (initial
enabled). power = 10 MW; scram was not enabled).
876 R. Nasir et al. / Annals of Nuclear Energy 85 (2015) 869878

The reactivity rises to a peak value and then starts decreasing movement of core towards thermal column is about $1 with the
slowly; however when the ramp is large the peak values also insertion rate of $1 per 0.615 s (Iqbal et al., 2001).
become high (Fig. 6a). The power also exhibits two peaks where The transient response of this scenario for a specic ramp of
the second peak remains higher as compared to the rst peak in $0.3/0.5 s plus the core movement towards thermal column is
all cases. The power rises to a peak value in less than a second simulated. Both transients occur simultaneously at low power of
and then keeps on rising monotonically in the absence of reactor 1 W when system scram is disabled. The results for net reactivity
scram for all cases. The fuel, clad and coolant temperature as a and power are shown as Fig. 7a and b, respectively. The reactivity
function of time for different ramps are shown as Fig. 6b, respec- increases linearly to $1.3 within rst 0.25 s and becomes constant
tively. The fuel and clad temperatures (Fig. 6c and d, respectively) there for a short duration. It then decreases and forms a second
remained far below the melting temperatures. Results are peak ($0.8) near 1.2 s. The power rises from 1 W to 103 MW within
summarized in Table 6. With the increase in ramp values the peak 0.9 s and the second power peak of 34 MW occurs near 1.2 s.
values increased. Fuel temperatures remain below 165 C and clad In next part, the ramp reactivity was varied from $0.1/0.5 s to
temperature remained below 145 C because of good thermal con- $0.5/0.5 s in steps along with the core movement transient and
ductivity of fuel. In these multiple transients, the coolant reached the response was studied. Results of the analysis for power and
at onset of nucleate boiling and attained the saturation tempera- clad temperature are shown as Fig. 8a and b, respectively. Peak
ture. The highest peak (53.5 MW) in power is observed for ramp power reaches to 280 MW when ramp inserted is $0.5/0.5 s plus
of $1.0/0.5 s is applied along 148.8 C 148.8 C with the beam tube the core movement. First power peak in scenario 2 varies from
ooding. 18 MW to 276.8 MW when the ramp value is changed from
$0.1/0.5 s to $0.5/0.5 s. Similarly the clad temperatures vary from
4.3. Scenario 2: ramp + core movement towards thermal column 87.2 C to 260 C for the range of ramps mentioned above. The peak
values (as shown in Table 7) reach earlier in time when ramp value
When the reactor core is moved from a position, in which it is is increased and peak value becomes high and peak clad tempera-
completely surrounded by water, to another position, in which a tures remain below the melting point during these coupled
portion of its water reector is replaced by graphite thermal col- transients.
umn into the stall end operating position. This can add reactivity
to the core. In order to prevent the initiation of excursions through 4.4. Senario3: a ramp + experimental sample ejection
the rapid movement of the core in the vicinity of the thermal col-
umn, a micro-switch is generally installed in the bridge drive The experiments which are placed inside the reactor represent a
assembly, which scram the reactor when the crank controlling potential means of imparting a sudden increase in reactivity which
bridge movement is engaged. If the bridge scram interlock fails, can be inserted by removal of an experiment while the core is crit-
the severity of the transient will depend upon the rate with which ical. In this accident, the reactivity gets inserted from the removal
the reactivity is added. The maximum speed at which the reactor
bridge can be moved by an average person is about 513 cm/s.
The effect of thermal column on the core reactivity can occurs only
in the last 10 cm of the motion. Hence, we have assumed that such
a movement will add a reactivity of about 0.728% Dk/k into the
core in about 0.615 s. This is a startup accidental scenario. In this
transient it is assumed that reactor is initially at very low power
of 1 W (natural convection mode) and the reactor trip system is
disabled. The rapid movement of core under forced cooling
condition with ow rates of 9501000 m3/h can create huge trust
on core and its supporting bridge and can dislodge many
components from system.
Then a ramp reactivity of $0.25/0.5 s is inserted and at the same
time the reactor core is moved towards the thermal column. The
neutrons that were leaking out from the core are now reecting
back from the thermal column and cause a positive reactivity
insertion. It is assumed that reactivity inserted because of

Table 6
Peak power and peak clad temperatures for various ramp plus beam tube ooding
transients in IAEA benchmarked MTR type reactor having U3Si2Al fuel.a

Single ramp Power (MW) Clad temperature (C)


First peak Second peak First peak Second peak
(Time) (Time) (Time) (Time)
$1.0/0.5 s 49.3 MW 53.5 MW 144.4 C 145.6 C
(0.30 s) (0.45 s) (0.31 s) (0.45 s)
$0.8/0.5 s 39.6 MW 50.3 MW 141.4 C 145.5 C
(0.30 s) (0.51 s) (0.36 s) (0.51 s)
$0.6/0.5 s 31.7 MW 39.2 MW 141.8 C
(0.31 s) (0.51 s) (0.53 s)
$0.4/0.5 s 25.6 MW 29.3 MW 131.2 C
(0.30 s) (0.52 s) (0.57 s)
$0.2/0.5 s 21.1 MW 22.4 MW 111.9 C Fig. 7. (a) Net reactivity and power (MW), (b) fuel, clad and coolant temperature as
(0.29 s) (0.52 s) (0.56 s) a function of time (during scenario 2: a ramp ($0.3/0.5 s) and core movement
towards thermal column transient) in U3Si2Al fueled LEU core (initial
a
Initial power = 10 MW; reactor scram disabled. power = 1.0 W; scram was not enabled).
R. Nasir et al. / Annals of Nuclear Energy 85 (2015) 869878 877

Fig. 9. (a) Net reactivity and power (MW), (b) fuel, clad and coolant temperature as
a function of time (during scenario 3: a ramp ($0.3/0.5 s) and sample ejection
accident) in U3Si2Al fueled LEU core (initial power = 10 MW; scram was not
Fig. 8. (a) Power (MW), (b) clad temperature as a function of time (during scenario enabled).
2: a ramp and core movement towards thermal column transient) for various values
of ramp reactivity in U3Si2Al fueled LEU core (initial power = 1.0 W; scram was not
enabled). simultaneously and the system scram is disabled. The results for
net reactivity and power are shown as Fig. 9a and b, respectively.
The reactivity increases very sharply within rst 0.1 s and It then
Table 7 decreases and forms a second peak. The power follows the net
Peak power and peak clad temperatures for various ramp plus core movement
reactivity and it rises to 82.4 MW within 0.1 s; the second power
transients in IAEA benchmarked MTR type reactor having U3Si2Al fuel.a
peak of 48 MW occurs near 0.31 s and afterwards it remains less
Ramp Power (MW) Clad temperature than 50 MW. The peak fuel, clad and coolant temperatures are
First peak Second peak First peak Second peak observed with 165.0 C, 151.0 C and 110 C, respectively. The val-
(Time) (Time) (Time) (Time) ues of clad temperatures remained far below the clad melting
$0.5/0.5 s 276.8 MW 56.4 MW 260.2 C 148.1 C temperatures.
(0.73 s) (1.0 s) (0.75 s) (1.0 s) In this scenario, the ramp reactivity was varied from $0.1/0.5 s
$0.4/0.5 s 179.6 MW 43.6 MW 219.2 C 145.7 C to $0.5/0.5 s along with in-pile experimental sample ejection acci-
(0.80 s) (1.09 s) (0.83 s) (1.11 s)
dent and the transient response was studied for each case. Results
$0.3/0.5 s 103.0 MW 33.6 MW 152.7 C 131.4 C
(0.90 s) (1.20 s) (0.91 s) (1.27 s) of the analysis for power and clad temperature are shown as
$0.2/0.5 s 49.2 MW 23.5 MW 131.1 C 111.3 C Fig. 10a and b, respectively. Peak values for scenario 3 are summa-
(1.05 s) (1.39 s) (1.11 s) (1.47 s) rized in Table 8. Peak power reaches to 96.4 MW when ramp
$0.1/0.5 s 18.1 MW 87.2 C 89.9 C
inserted is $0.5/0.5 s along with the sample ejection accident.
(1.39 s) (1.48 s) (1.79 s)
The peak clad temperature rises from 77 C to 153 C within 0.1 s
a
Initial power = 1 W; reactor scram disabled. in this case. The peak values increase when ramp value is raised.
Peak clad temperature remains below the melting point. In Ramp
plus in-pile experimental sample ejection accident the maximum
of single in-pile experiment and the sample worth is taken to be $1
power and Maximum clad temperature remained less than
and time taken for the sample ejection is 0.025 s but it mainly
96 MW and 155 C.
depends upon the samples weight. This is the upper limit of reac-
tivity due to a sample which is to be irradiated in a core. Therefore,
the reactivity insertion rate due to sample ejection is considered to 5. Conclusions
be $1.0 per 0.025 s (Iqbal et al., 2001).
In scenario 3, the reactor is assumed to be operating at steady When simultaneously two different reactivity insertion tran-
state power level of 10 MW and reactor trip is disabled. A specic sients are coupled in the LEU fueled MTR type reactor under
ramp of $0.3/0.5 s is coupled with an accident in which an in-pile uncontrolled conditions, the self-control of the reactor decreases.
experimental sample gets ejected and introduces a positive The power shows multiple peaks and oscillates along with the
reactivity ($1.0/0.025 s) into the system. Both transients occur net reactivity of the system within rst second of the coupled
878 R. Nasir et al. / Annals of Nuclear Energy 85 (2015) 869878

10 MW, when the ramp is changed from $0.1/0.5 s to $0.5/0.5 s,


the power peak remained less than 97 MW and clad temperature
was less than 153 C in rst second. Hence the uncontrolled MTR
system under these coupled scenarios does lead to nucleate boiling
in some cases but does not show clad melting temperatures.

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