This CFD study is to simulate a coolant (gas) flow and heat transfer in a PBR core during a normal operation. This study used a pebble array with direct area contacts among the pebbles which is one of the pebbles arrangements for a detailed simulation of PBR core CFD studies. A CFD model is developed to more adequately represent the pebbles randomly stacked in the PBR core. The CFD predictions showed a large variation of the temperature on the pebble surface as well as in the pebble core. The temperature drop in the outer graphite layer is smaller than that in the pebble-core region. This is because the thermal conductivity of graphite is higher than the fuel (UO2 mixture) conductivity in the pebble core. Higher pebble surface temperature is predicted downstream of the pebble contact due to a reverse flow. Multiple vortices are predicted to occur downstream of the spherical pebbles due to a flow separation. The coolant flow structure and fuel temperature in the PBR core appears to largely depend on the in-core distribution of the pebbles.

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