In this paper, the theoretical study and experimental investigation on the rod drop performance of high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR) pebble-bed module have been presented. The control rod drive mechanisms (CRDMs), serving as the first shutdown system of the reactor, are positioned above the reactor pressure vessel. When the reactor is operated at the power regulation mode, the control rods are pulled up-and-down in their channels around the reactor core. The CRDM provides a fail-safe operational mode for the control rod system. If the reactor emergency shutdown is required the control rods could drop into their channels by gravity. Thus the key factor, emergency insertion time of the whole control rod stroke, which represents the inherent safety of the CRDM, is crucially important and should be measured precisely. In the final objective of ensuring reliability of the CRDM, a full size drive line had been built and tested to obtain the overall performance function of the CRDM. Every component of the CRDM test line was simulated at the scale 1:1, including a 15 meters high test bench that was used as the substitution of the pressure vessel. At current stage, the rod drop performance had been experimental investigated at ambient temperature and pressure. The emergency insertion time of an 8 meters stroke was measured to be less than 50 seconds. A mathematical model of CRDM also had been developed. The rod motion characteristic equations show that the rod dropping speed approaches to a constant during the emergency insertion. The theoretical results are in agreement with the test results.

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