Pebble bed modular high temperature gas-cooled reactors (HTR), due to their characteristics of low power density, slender structure, large thermal inertia of fuel elements and reactor component materials (graphite), have good inherent safety features. However, the reflectors consisting of large piles of graphite blocks will form huge numbers of certain bypass gaps in the radial, axial and circumferential directions, thus affecting the effective cooling flow into the reactor core, which is one of the concerned issues of HTRs.

According to the preliminary design of the Chinese high temperature gas-cooled reactor pebble-bed modular (HTR-PM), the thermal-hydraulic calculation model is established in this paper. Based on this model, considering different bypass flow, that is to say, different core cooling flow, fuel element temperature, outlet helium temperature and the core pressure drop in the normal operation, as well as the maximal fuel temperature during the depressurized loss of forced cooling (DLOFC) accident are analyzed. This study on bypass effects on the steady-state and transient phases can further demonstrate the HTR safety features.

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