At the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, zirconium in the fuel rod cladding reacted with water vapor at elevated temperatures due to a loss of cooling water, resulting in the production of a large amount of hydrogen. This hydrogen leaked from the reactor vessel and accumulated in the top of reactor building, eventually leading to an explosion. A hydrogen treatment system that re-oxidizes hydrogen to water vapor is one of the effective methods to prevent such an explosion. A prominent re-oxidation method is via a fixed bed reactor packed with metal oxide pellets. The advantages of this method are its relatively fast oxidation rate without external oxygen/air injection. In this study, experiments and complementary numerical calculations were performed on the hydrogen re-oxidation reaction by metal oxides. The oxidation of hydrogen by copper oxide is modeled by 5 interacting, elementary reactions consisting of 6 chemical species. Experiments were performed using two packed bed set-ups, with measurement of inlet/outlet gas composition and pre/post-analysis of solid composition used to determine constants of the individual reaction rates for numerical calculations. From these reaction constants, the temporal behavior of the outlet gas was predicted.

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