The United States Department of Energy is promoting the resurgence of nuclear power in the U. S. for both electrical power generation and production of process heat required for industrial processes such as the manufacture of hydrogen for use as a fuel in automobiles. The DOE project is called the next generation nuclear plant (NGNP) and is based on a Generation IV reactor concept called the very high temperature reactor (VHTR), which will use helium as the coolant at temperatures ranging from 450 °C to perhaps 1000 °C. While computational fluid dynamics (CFD) has not been used for past safety analysis for nuclear reactors in the U. S., it is being considered for safety analysis for existing and future reactors. It is fully recognized that CFD simulation codes will have to be validated for flow physics reasonably close to actual fluid dynamic conditions expected in normal and accident operational situations. To this end, experimental data have been obtained in a scaled model of a narrow slice of the lower plenum of a prismatic VHTR. The present article presents new results of CFD examinations of these data to explore potential issues with the geometry, the initial conditions, the flow dynamics and the data needed to fully specify the inlet and boundary conditions; results for several turbulence models are examined. Issues are addressed and recommendations about the data are made.

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