Core Catcher is provided as an in-vessel core debris retention device to collect, support, cool and maintain in sub-critical configuration, the generated core debris from fuel melting due to certain postulated Beyond Design Basis Events (BDBE) for Fast Breeder Reactor (FBR). This also acts as a barrier to prevent settling of debris on main vessel and keeps its maximum temperature within acceptable creep range. Heat transfer by natural convection in the core catcher assembly has been assessed numerically and through water experiments using geometrically similar configuration. Resistive heating elements are used in experiment as heat source to simulate debris decay heat on core catcher. Series of experiments were carried out for two configurations referred as geometry A and geometry B. The later configuration showed enhanced natural convective heat transfer from the lower plenum of the vessel. Temperatures were monitored at critical positions and compared with numerical evaluation. Numerically evaluated flow fields and isotherms are compared with experimental data for specific steady state temperatures on heat source plate. Numerical results are found to be in good agreement with that obtained from experiments. The combined efforts of numerical and experimental work conclude core catcher assembly with geometry B to be more suitable.

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