Since 1999 ENEA is developing the heavy liquid metal (HLM) technology aiming to support the design and implementation of a Lead cooled Fast Reactor (LFR) and an Accelerator Driven System (ADS), both in the frame of the Italian and European research programs.

In these contexts several experiments have been performed, in different fields, going from coolant thermal-hydraulic, component development and structural material characterization.

Recently, in the frame of the IP-EUROTRANS (6th Framework Program EU), domain DEMETRA, ENEA assumed the commitment to perform an integral experiment aiming to reproduce the primary flow path of a pool-type nuclear reactor, cooled by Lead Bismuth Eutectics (LBE).

This experimental activity, named “Integral Circulation Experiment (ICE)”, has been implemented thanks a joint effort of several research institutes, mainly ENEA and University of Pisa, allowing to design an appropriate test section. This has been installed in the CIRCE facility, the largest worldwide experimental facility for the HLM technology investigation.

The goal of the experiments was to demonstrate the technological feasibility of a heavy liquid metal (HLM) pooltype nuclear system in a relevant scale (1 MW), investigating the related thermal–hydraulic behavior under both steady state and transient conditions.

This paper reports a description of the experiment, as well as the results carried out in the first experimental campaign run on the CIRCE pool, which consists of a full power steady state test, an un-protected loss of heat sink (ULOH) test, and an un-protected loss of flow (ULOF) test.

The post-test analyses of the experiments is presented. The whole domain has been modeled by a suitable 1-D nodalization, and the results carried out have been studied performing numerical calculations by the REALP5 system code modified to take in account the LBE thermal-physical properties when employed as nuclear coolant.

The obtained experimental results as well as the performed post-test analysis have demonstrated the thermal-hydraulic and technological feasibility of a pool-type nuclear system cooled by HLM.

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