Computational Fluid Dynamics Modeling to Investigate Thermal-Hydraulic Performance of ATF Concepts

  • Khaled AlShehhi

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis

    Abstract

    Fukushima accident in Japan highlighted the need for the nuclear industry to implement a new set of cladding materials that can withstand adverse events without serious consequences. To date, several Accident Tolerant Fuels (ATF) have been proposed and many of them demonstrated good performance in accident scenarios. To continuously improve safety standards, the new proposed ATF concepts are considered for use at Barakah Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP). Thus, the compatibility of these ATFs at BNPP shall be thoroughly investigated. The goal of this research is to recommend a suitable ATF concept for use at BNPP through evaluating three ATF cladding materials from Thermal-Hydraulic considerations. The project is performed by developing a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) model using STAR-CCM+ Code that is used to quantitatively assess the Thermal-Hydraulic performance of the ATF concepts: Silicon Carbide, FeCrAl and Cr coated Zirconium. These three ATF concepts are the most promising cladding material that might be capable of replacing the traditional Zirconium based alloy used in the industry now, hence leading to significant improvement in the safety margins of nuclear power plants. The CFD model is built using PLUS7 fuel rod geometry data which is the fuel assembly type currently in use at BNPP. Simulation conditions are the same as the reactor conditions at BNPP. This study is intended to help the UAE select which ATF cladding material suits BNPP the most in terms of Thermal-Hydraulic performance. The CFD investigation of the different cladding materials in normal steady state conditions demonstrates that the thermal performance of the ATF cladding materials is comparable to that of ZIRLO except for that of SiC where its thermal conductivity degrades after irradiation. Thus, the implementation of FeCrAl or Cr coated ZIRLO as a cladding material may not affect the thermal-hydraulic performance of the fuel assemblies at BNPP in normal operating temperatures and conditions.
    Date of AwardMay 2022
    Original languageAmerican English

    Keywords

    • Accident Tolerant Fuels; Thermal Hydraulic; Computational Fluid Dynamics; STAR-CCM+.

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