In response to the goals outlined by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Global Nuclear Energy Partnership program, Argonne National Laboratory has initiated an effort to create an integrated multi-physics multi-resolution thermal hydraulic simulation tool package for the evaluation of nuclear power plant design and safety. As part of this effort, the applicability of a variety of thermal hydraulic analysis methods for the prediction of heat transfer and fluid dynamics in the wire-wrapped fuel-rod bundles found in a fast reactor core is being evaluated. The work described herein provides an initial assessment of the capabilities of the general purpose commercial computational fluid dynamics code Star-CD for the prediction of fluid dynamic characteristics in a wire wrapped fast reactor fuel assembly. A 7-pin wire wrapped fuel rod assembly based on the dimensions of fuel elements in the concept Advanced Burner Test Reactor [1] was simulated for different mesh densities and domain configurations. A model considering a single axial span of the wire wrapped fuel assembly was initially used to assess mesh resolution effects. The influence of the inflow/outflow boundary conditions on the predicted flow fields in the single-span model were then investigated through comparisons with the central span region of models which included 3 and 5 spans. The change in grid refinement had minimal impact on the inter-channel exchange within the assembly resulting in roughly a 5 percent maximum difference. The central span of the 3-span and 5-span cases exhibits much higher velocities than the single span case,, with the largest deviation (15 to 20 percent) occurring furthest away from the wire spacer grids in the higher velocity regions. However, the differences between predicted flow fields in the 3-span and 5-span models are minimal.

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