Safety margin of the in-vessel retention strategy is given by the difference between thermal load acting on inner reactor surface and coolability limit (in terms of critical heat flux) on outer reactor surface. In order to study the two-phase flow in external reactor vessel cooling loop and heat transfer from curved reactor wall, the RESCUE-2 (Representative loops for External System Cooling Understanding Experiments) experimental facility was erected in CEA Cadarache in France. The facility consists of electrically heated simulator of reactor vessel with an ellipsoidal lower head and cooling loop that enables natural circulation of coolant around the reactor wall. In the frame of SARNET 2 project (Severe Accident Research Network of Excellence, 7th EU Framework Programme) several experiments devoted to external reactor vessel cooling phenomena with certain relevance to VVER-440/V213 reactors, were performed on this facility. The heat flux profile generated by electrical heaters in these experiments was based on the results that were obtained by using ASTEC code for this reactor design. The results of two RESCUE-2 experiments are used in this paper for benchmarking of RELAP 5 Mod.3.3 code and ASTEC V2.0 code.

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