Experimental research of natural convection and the ways of its suppression in an annular vertical channel to simulate the conditions of cooling the control rod drivers of the reactor protection system (RPS) in its so-called wet design, where the drivers are cooled by primary circuit water supplied due to the system that includes branched pipelines, valves, pump, heat exchanger, etc., is reported. Reliability of the drivers depends upon their temperature ensured by operation of an active multi-element cooling system. Its replacement by an available passive cooling system is possible only under significant suppression of natural convection in control rod channel filled with primary coolant. The methods of suppression of natural convection proposed in the work have demonstrated the possibility both of minimization of axial heat transfer and of almost complete elimination of temperature non-uniformity and oscillation inside the channel under the conditions of free travel of moving element (control rod) in it.
The obtained results widen the possibilities of substitution of the active systems of cooling the RPS drivers by reliable passive systems, such as high-performance heat-transfer systems of evaporation-condensation type with heat pipes or two-phase thermosyphons as heat-transferring elements.