Stability analysis of the boiling water reactor : methods and advanced designs
Author(s)Hu, Rui, Ph. D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Nuclear Science and Engineering.
Mujid S. Kazimi.
MetadataShow full item record
Density Wave Oscillations (DWOs) are known to be possible when a coolant undergoes considerable density reduction while passing through a heated channel. In the development of boiling water reactors (BWRs), there has been considerable concern about the effects of such oscillations when coupled with neutronic feedback. The current trend of increasing reactor power density and relying more extensively on natural circulation for core cooling may have consequences for the stability characteristics of new BWR designs. This work addresses a wide range of issues associated with the BWR stability: 1) flashing-induced instability and natural circulation BWR startup; 2) stability of the BWRs with advanced designs involving high power :densities; 3) modeling assumptions in stability analysis methods; and 4) the fuel clad performance during power and flow oscillations. To capture the effect of flashing on density wave oscillations during low pressure startup conditions, a code named FISTAB has been developed in the frequency domain. The code is based on a single channel thermal-hydraulic model of the balance of the water/steam circulation loop, and incorporates the pressure dependent water/steam thermodynamic properties, from which the evaporation due to flashing is captured. The functionality of the FISTAB code is confirmed by testing the experimental results at SIRIUS-N facility. Both stationary and perturbation results agree well with the experimental results. The proposed ESBWR start-up procedure under natural convection conditions has been examined by the FISTAB code. It is confirmed that the examined operating points along the ESBWR start-up trajectory from TRACG simulation will be stable. To avoid the instability resulting from the transition from single-phase natural circulation to two-phase circulation, a simple criterion is proposed for the natural convection BWR start-up when the steam dome pressure is still low. Using the frequency domain code STAB developed at MIT, stability analyses of some proposed advanced BWRs have been conducted, including the high power density BWR core designs using the Large Assembly with Small Pins (LASP) or Cross Shape Twisted (CST) fuel designs developed at MIT, and the Hitachi's RBWR cores utilizing a hard neutron spectrum and even higher power density cores. The STAB code is the predecessor of the FISTAB code, and thermodynamic properties of the coolant are only dependent on system pressure in STAB. It is concluded that good stability performance of the LASP core and the CST core can be maintained at nominal conditions, even though they have 20% higher reactor thermal power than the reference core. Power uprate does not seem to have significant effects on thermal-hydraulic stability performance when the power-to-flow ratio is maintained. Also, both the RBWR-AC and RBWR-TB2 designs are found viable from a stability performance point of view, even though the core exit qualities are almost 3 times those of a traditional BWR. The stability of the RBWRs is enhanced through the fast transient response of the shorter core, more flat power and power-to-flow ratio distributions, less negative void feedback coefficient, and the core inlet orifice design. To examine the capability of coupled 3D thermal-hydraulics and neutronics codes for stability analysis, USNRC's latest system analysis code, TRACE, is chosen in this work. Its validation for stability analysis and comparison with the frequency domain approach, have been performed against the Ringhals 1 stability tests. Comprehensive assessment of modeling choices on TRACE stability analysis has been made, including effects of timespatial discretization, numerical schemes, thermal-hydraulic channel grouping, neutronics modeling, and control system modeling. The predictions from both the TRACE and STAB codes are found in reasonably good agreement with the Ringhals 1 test results. The biases for the predicted global decay ratio are about 0.07 in TRACE results, and -0.04 in STAB results. However, the standard deviations of decay ratios are both large, around 0.1, indicating large uncertainties in both analyses. Although the TRACE code uses more sophisticated neutronic and thermal hydraulic models, the modeling uncertainty is not less than that of the STAB code. The benchmark results of both codes for the Ringhals stability test are at the same level of accuracy. The fuel cladding integrity during power oscillations without reactor scram is examined by using the FRAPTRAN code, with consideration of both the stress-strain criterion and thermal fatigue. Under the assumed power oscillation conditions for high burn-up fuel, the cladding can satisfy the stress-strain criteria in the ASME Code. Also, the equivalent alternating stress is below the fatigue threshold stress, thus the fatigue limit is not violated. It can be concluded that under a large amount of the undamped power oscillation cycles, the cladding would not fail, and the fuel integrity is not compromised.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Nuclear Science and Engineering, 2010.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 278-285).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Nuclear Science and Engineering.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Nuclear Science and Engineering.