The studies presented are aiming at a detailed investigation of the behaviour of a VVER-1000/V-320 reactor and the containment structures during a postulated severe accident, including the ways and means by which these accidents may be prevented or mitigated. A hypothetical station blackout scenario (loss of the offsite electric power system concurrent with a turbine trip and unavailability of the emergency AC power system), belonging to the typical beyond design basis accidents, has been investigated. Station blackout results in reactor shut down, loss of feed water and trip of all reactor coolant pumps. Continuous evaporation of the secondary side leads to steam generators’ depletion followed by heating up of the core. In case of unavailability of essential safety systems the core will be severely damaged and finally the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) might fail. The analyses are performed using the integral code ASTEC commonly developed by IRSN (Institut de Radioprotection et de Suˆrete´ Nucle´aire) and GRS (Gesellschaft fu¨r Anlagen- und Reaktorsicherheit mbH). Code-to-code comparative analyses for the early thermal-hydraulic phase have been performed with the GRS code ATHLET. A large number of sensitivity calculations have been done regarding the axial core power distribution, heat losses, and RPV lower head modelling. The analyses have shown that, despite the considerable differences in the codes themselves, the calculation results are similar in terms of thermal hydraulic response. There are discrepancies in timings of phenomena, which are within the limitations of the physical models and the applied nodalizations. It was one objective of this investigation to evaluate the Severe Accident Management (SAM) procedures for VVER-1000 reactors, by for instance estimating the time available for taking appropriate decisions and preparing counter-measures. To evaluate the effect of possible operator actions, a SAM procedure (primary side depressurization) is included into the simulation. Without SAMs, the simulation provides plastic rupture of the RPV after approximately 4.3 h, while with SAMs, a prolongation of the vessel failure time is obtained by approximately 90 minutes. Currently, the late phase of the accident is investigated in more detail by comparing the lower head behaviour as simulated by ASTEC with results from dedicated finite element calculations. The work contributes to the reliability of the ASTEC code by means of plant applications.

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