MYRRHA (Multi-purpose hybrid research reactor for high-tech applications) is a lead-bismuth eutectic (LBE) cooled research reactor currently under development at SCK•CEN, the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre. The compact design of the pool-type primary system implies the presence of pronounced 3D thermal fluid-dynamic phenomena, which can affect the evolution of certain accidental transients such as loss of flow (LOF). System thermal-hydraulics (STH) codes, conceived to carry out global NPP safety analyses, present severe limitations in taking into account local 3D phenomena including flow mixing, thermal stratification, etc. To overcome this limitation, a promising solution is coupling STH codes with CFD codes, which can calculate complex flow fields but result, on the other hand, in too expensive computational resources for whole-plant simulations.

A domain decomposition method that couples the STH code RELAP5-3D and the CFD code Ansys FLUENT has been developed and implemented. Proof-of-principle tests on simple configurations have been carried out to demonstrate its validity and to identify modeling and numerical issues. The experimental campaign carried out at the test facility TALL-3D, operated by the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, has been selected for preliminary verification and validation (V&V) of this method. This paper presents the results of the coupled 1D-3D simulation of a forced-to-natural circulation transient event, whose evolution results to be strongly affected by flow mixing and stratification phenomena. The experimental validation, based on a high-quality set of experimental data, is currently on-going. Further development and validation activities will be carried out in the experimental facility ESCAPE, under commissioning at SCK•CEN, within the recently launched EU project MYRTE (Horizon 2020 programme).

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