In the general context of the nuclear activities, life extension of the existing plants is the interesting option for countries that are already well equipped with NPPs. As the working life of 60 years is now expected possible for some well maintained plants, their safety measures needs to be improved such that they should be comparable to the new or future designs, taken into account the results from the probabilistic and the deterministic accident analysis. To accomplish this aim, the Accident Management (AM) is the important part of the process that must be utilized including possible automation of some processes. At INSTN, the extensive sensitivity studies related to the feed and bleed process on the primary and the secondary side had been carried out with the SIPACT simulator, based on the Cathare code, for a 900 MWe pressurized water reactor. The simulations had been mainly conducted for the Beyond Design Basis Accident (BDBA) condition. This condition included the total loss of feed-water and a small break with the loss of the high pressure injection system (HPIS). From these studies, several interesting findings had been obtained. For AM purpose and with the bleeding process, the criterion called “the safety time margin” for core uncovery was introduced. By plotting the safety time margin against the bleeding time, the relation between them was established and used to optimize, when possible, the AM measures. For the scenario that involved the total loss of feed water, in case of full bleeding, a window was found for the bleeding time around the degradation of the heat exchange in SGs would be resulted. In this scenario, one of the solutions was to open only one relief valve at first in order to let through only the minimal mass. At the time of the injection by the accumulator, the other two relief valves were then opened. As a result, the flow through the relief valves could be effectively compensated by the flow from the accumulator, the mass balance in the vessel was maintained and the safety margin time was increased. For the scenario that was related to a small break without HPIS, the concept of the safety time margin was still applicable. The time window was observed to be narrower for the bleeding on the secondary side if the core uncovery was to be avoided, however. By observing the distribution of the mass in the primary loop, its behavior, which was directly related to the design, was fully demonstrated. One important finding showed that the current PWR design presented some disadvantage under the BDBA condition. Due to the way the water was accumulated in various components, sometime as much as that that was still remained in the pressure vessel, not all the water already presented or injected into the primary loop could reach the pressure vessel to be effectively utilized for core cooling. In order to characterize the availability of the water to cool the core, which related to the NPP BDBA robustness, a simple mass distribution criterion was proposed. Some improvements for the future design were also suggested.

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