Development and Validation of Thermal-Hydraulic ... in BWR's and PWR's: Can modern CFD models reliably predict DNB for nuclear power applications?

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Dept of Mechanical Engineering

Abstract

The United Kingdom government has decided that continued use of nuclear power should be made to contribute to a low-carbon electricity generating system in the United Kingdom. It is important that new nuclear plants are designed to be as safe as possible, and this research will contribute to this.

Broadly, when a water-cooled nuclear reactor remains cooled by water, it is essentially impossible for it to overheat and suffer damage. Conversely, when the water coolant turns inadvertently to steam this possibility does arise. This project is aimed at developing better predictive tools to understand when the change of coolant from liquid water to steam occurs. Better predictive capability here will allow new plants to be designed with even more confidence as to their safety.

This project will be undertaken in collaboration with our colleagues in the Indian civil nuclear power industry, specifically at the Bhaba Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai. Here our Indian colleagues, supported by the United Kingdom team, will engage in complex measurements of the boiling process, and of the turning of the liquid water coolant into steam. Alongside these measurements, we and they will develop sophisticated computational predictive tools for this change from liquid water to steam. These predictive tools will study the fundamental physics of the boiling process, right down at a scale of a few microns, and will extend to the construction and validation of predictive tools applied to the scale of whole portions of the nuclear core.

The quality and effectiveness of the predictive tools to be developed will be able to be assessed by comparing their predictions with the observed occurrence of this water-steam transition.

Planned Impact

This project evolved from discussions between UK and Indian researchers. The Indian researchers concerned are directly involved in design and analysis of new reactors, and their enthusiasm to conduct this project is a measure of how direct its impact will be when it is able to be applied to the design and analysis of new nuclear plants.

In addition, the measurements that will be made of the characteristics of boiling systems, at the various length scales proposed, will form a valuable addition to the literature in this area, which is needed for the development and validation of models of boiling. This impact will be achieved by the wide dissemination of our results, via international and national conferences, and via publication in peer reviewed technical journals.

All the team of researchers have good contacts throughout the nuclear industry, and these contacts will allow the significance of the work to be appreciated more directly by nuclear engineer practitioners, which will facilitate the adoption of these new methods in new nuclear plant design, analysis and regulation.

Publications

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Colombo M (2021) Benchmarking of Computational Fluid Dynamic Models for Bubbly Flows in Nuclear Engineering and Design

 
Description Towards comprehensive multiphase flow modelling for nuclear reactor thermal hydraulics
Amount £345,425 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/S019871/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2019 
End 08/2022
 
Description Collaboration with Indian DAE BARC 
Organisation Bhabbha Atomic Research Centre
Country India 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We are collaborating in a series of projects under the Indo-UK Civil Nuclear Programme
Collaborator Contribution We and BARC work together on developing measurements associated with various aspects of nuclear thermal hydraulics, and in the development and validation of models of these phenomena
Impact Multiple publications, multiple visits to BARC, multiple hostings of Indian scientists in the UK
Start Year 2015
 
Description Indo-UK Civil Nuclear Network Conference & Meeting. 30 - 31 October 2019 Halifax Hall, Sheffield University. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Indo-UK Civil Nuclear Network Conference & Meeting. 30 - 31 October 2019 Halifax Hall, Sheffield University. Annual gathering of researchers working on collaborative Indo-UK civil nuclear research projects. Talks and presentations on work done under Indo-UK collaborative grants.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Indo-UK Civil Nuclear Network Meeting. 20 September 2018 The Open University, Milton Keynes. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact Indo-UK Civil Nuclear Network Meeting. 20 September 2018 The Open University, Milton Keynes. Annual gathering of researchers working on collaborative Indo-UK civil nuclear research projects. Talks and presentations on work done under Indo-UK collaborative grants.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Invited Lecture on the boiling, DNB, and its prediction, at BARC, Mumbai, February 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact An invited lecture on boiling, DNB, and its prediction, to scientists from the Indian DAE laboratory BARC, and the associated HBNI University Institute
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Online resources: official website of the Indo-UK Civil Nuclear Network, https://indouk-civilnuclear.org 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Generation of online resources available to everyone is interested at https://indouk-civilnuclear.org. Information on current and previous Indo-UK grants; publications; events; past and upcoming workshops and meetings.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019,2020
URL https://indouk-civilnuclear.org
 
Description UKFN SIG in Nuclear Thermal hydraulics 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Meeting of the UKFN SIG in Nuclear Thermal Hydraulics was organziedat the University of Leeds and included specific talks on ongoing EPSRC funded research. The audience included around 50 delegates from other Uk universities, industry and the office for nuclear regulation
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019