Stability Analysis of Natural Circulation in BWRs at High Pressure Conditions
Author(s)Hu, Rui; Kazimi, Mujid S.
Advanced Nuclear Power Technology Program (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
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At rated conditions, a natural circulation boiling water reactor (NCBWR) depends completely on buoyancy to remove heat from the reactor core. This raises the issue of potential unstable flow oscillations. The objective of this work is to assess the characteristics of stability in a NCBWR at rated conditions, and the sensitivity to design and operating conditions in comparison to previous BWRs. Two kinds of instabilities, namely Ledinegg flow excursion and Density Wave Oscillations (DWO), have been studied. The DWO analyses were conducted for three oscillation modes: Single Channel thermal-hydraulic stability, coupled neutronics regionwide out-of-phase stability and core-wide in-phase stability. Using frequency domain methods, the three types of DWO stability characteristics of the NCBWR and their sensitivity to the operating parameters and design features have been determined. The characteristic equations are constructed from linearized equations, which are derived for small deviations around steady operating conditions. The Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR) is used in our analysis as a reference NCBWR design. It is found that the ESBWR can be stable with a large margin around the operating conditions by proper choice of the core inlet orifice scheme, and for appropriate power to flow ratios. In single channel stability analysis, neutronic feedback is neglected. Design features of the ESBWR, including shorter fuel bundle and use of part-length rods in the assemblies, tend to improve the thermal-hydraulic stability performance. However, the thermalhydraulic stability margin is still lower than that of a typical BWR at rated conditions. In neutronic-coupled out-of-phase as well as in-phase stability analysis, the perturbation decay ratios for ESBWR at our assumed conditions are higher than that of a typical BWR (Peach Bottom 2) at rated conditions, due to its lower thermal-hydraulic stability margin and higher neutronic feedback. Nevertheless, the stability criteria are satisfied. To evaluate the NCBWR stability performance, comparison with BWR/Peach Bottom 2 at both the rated condition and maximum natural circulation condition has been conducted. Sensitivity studies are performed on the effects of design features and operating parameters, including chimney length, inlet orifice coefficient, power, flow rate, and axial power distribution, reactivity coefficients, fuel pellet-clad gap conductance. It can be concluded that the NCBWR and BWR stabilities are similarly sensitive to operating parameters.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Center for Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems. Advanced Nuclear Power Program