The performance of the Reactor Core Isolation Cooling (RCIC) system under beyond design basis event (BDBE) conditions is not well-characterized. The operating band of the RCIC system is currently specified utilizing conservative assumptions, with restrictive operational guidelines not allowing for an adequate credit of the true capability of the system. For example, it is assumed that battery power is needed for RCIC operation to maintain the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) water level — a loss of battery power is conservatively assumed to result in failure of the RCIC turbopump system in a range of safety and risk assessments. However, the accidents at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (FDNPS) showed that the Unit 2 RCIC did not cease to operate following loss of battery power. In fact, it continued to inject water into the RPV for nearly 3 days following the earthquake. Improved understanding of Terry turbopump operations under BDBE conditions can support enhancement of accident management procedures and guidelines, promoting more robust severe accident prevention. Therefore, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. nuclear industry, and international stakeholders have funded the Terry Turbine Expanded Operating Band (TTEXOB) program. This program aims to better understand RCIC operations during BDBE conditions through combined experimental and modeling efforts.
As part of the TTEXOB, airflow testing was performed at Texas A&M University (TAMU) of a small-scale ZS-1 and a full-scale GS-2 Terry turbine. This paper presents the corresponding efforts to model operation of the TAMU ZS-1 and GS-2 Terry turbines with Sandia National Laboratories’ (SNL) MELCOR code. The current MELCOR modeling approach represents the Terry turbine with a system of equations expressing the conservation of angular momentum. The joint analysis and experimental program identified that a) it is possible for the Terry turbine to develop the same power at different speeds, and b) turbine losses appear to be insensitive to the size of the turbine. As part of this program, further study of Terry turbine modeling unknowns and uncertainties is planned to support more extensive application of modeling and simulation to the enhancement of plant-specific operational and accident procedures.