Reactivity accident scenarios can occur originated by internal boron dilution in the primary system of a nuclear pressurized water reactor type (PWR or VVER). In essence the problem is caused by boron dilution following vaporization and condensation of the primary system coolant in case of decrease of primary system mass inventory, for example during a small-break loss of coolant accident (SB-LOCA) that may include boiling in the core with condensation of steam in the steam generators. When the liquid level in the reactor vessel decreases below the hot leg elevation, steam begins to flow to the steam generators and condenses there. This steam carries no boron and thus boron concentration in the cold leg loop seals begins to decrease. If for some reason this water plug with low boron concentration begins to flow towards the core and enters it without any major mixing with the borated coolant, the result is a positive reactivity insertion. The paper presents an analysis by RELAP5 Mod 3.3 code  of a small break LOCA of 20 cm2 area in the lower plenum of a four-loop PWR nuclear reactor. The boundary conditions of the calculations consider the eight accumulator tanks available, two/four low pressure injection systems (LPIS) available, and two of the four high pressure injection systems (HPIS) available. Sensitivity calculations were performed, regarding among other things, the boron concentration in the Emergency Core Cooling Systems (ECCS) and reactor cooling system (RCS) from Design Basis Accident (DBA) to beyond DBA conditions. From the results obtained, in some calculations boron dilution is observed in more than one loop seal. The situation in which the plugs in the loop seals are transported to the core without mixing with other borated water led to a potentially hazardous situation for four calculations in which initial conditions were far from DBA. It is important to emphasize that the present study has not the objective of a safety analysis of the NPP involved, but it should be considered inside research activities regarding the boron dilution issue.
- Nuclear Engineering Division
Addressing Boron Dilution Scenario Through RELAP5/3.3 Analysis of PWR SB LOCA
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Pla, P, Galetti, R, D’Auria, F, Parisi, C, Giannotti, W, Del Nevo, A, Muellner, N, Cherubini, M, Galassi, G, & Revento´s, F. "Addressing Boron Dilution Scenario Through RELAP5/3.3 Analysis of PWR SB LOCA." Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering. Volume 3: Thermal Hydraulics; Current Advanced Reactors: Plant Design, Construction, Workforce and Public Acceptance. Brussels, Belgium. July 12–16, 2009. pp. 695-704. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/ICONE17-75838
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