The pebble bed modular reactor (PBMR) is a high temperature gas-cooled reactor which uses helium gas as a coolant. The PBMR design relies on the excellent heat transfer properties of graphite and a fuel design that is inherently resistant to the release of the radioactive material up to high temperatures. The safety characteristics of the PBMR concept are excellent. However, a very strong safety case will have to be made if a new generation of reactors is to be successfully introduced to a concerned public. Until recent developments in computational fluid dynamics methods, computer speed, and data storage, the coupled thermal-hydraulic, chemical, and mass transport phenomena could not be treated in an integrated analysis. This paper addresses one aspect of the interplay between the details of fluid flow and aerosol transport within the complex geometry of the pebble bed core. A very large quantity of graphite dust is produced by the interaction among the pebbles. The potential for the deposition of radionuclides on the surface of dust particles and their subsequent transport as aerosols is substantial. This effort focuses on the inertial deposition of these aerosols within the pebble bed. Inertial deposition in the low Reynolds number regime of laminar flow in pebble beds has been explored previously, but with less powerful computational techniques. Some experimental data are also available in this regime. No analyses or experimental data are available in the high Reynolds number turbulent regime in which the PBMR operates. This paper describes results of analyses of inertial deposition obtained with the FLUENT computational fluid dynamics code. The objective of the analysis is to obtain an expression for deposition within an asymptotic unit cell, removed from the boundary conditions at the entrance to the array. The results of analyses performed at different velocities and fluid densities in the turbulent regime were correlated against a modified Stokes number. The deposition correlation is well represented by the integral form of the normal distribution. Deposition for the time-averaged flow was found to be insensitive to the flow model. In the laminar regime, FLUENT results were found to be in agreement with earlier published results and experimental data. The stochastic behavior of eddies was also simulated within FLUENT using the k–ε model. Eddy-enhanced deposition results in greater deposition at all aerosol sizes in comparison with the time-averaged results, with significant deposition of aerosols predicted for small aerosol sizes. However, it is likely that these results are quite sensitive to the modeling of turbulence and they must be considered preliminary.

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