Passive safety systems represent one field of research concerning the safety-related enhancement of nuclear power plants. Passive safety systems can ensure the safe removal of decay heat without an input of electrical or mechanical energy for commissioning or operation. The heat removal chain is guaranteed on the basis of the physical principles condensation, heat conduction, boiling and natural circulation. The thermal hydraulic processes in passive safety systems disagree with the plant-specific thermal hydraulics because of different operating conditions. Since the established system codes are validated for the plant-specific conditions, the operational behavior of passive safety systems is currently not sufficiently predictable.
On this account, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research initiated the joint project PANAS to investigate the decay heat removal by passive safety systems on the basis of experimental analyses, modelling and validation. Object is the heat removal chain in advanced boiling water reactors consisting of emergency condensers (EC; heat transfer from reactor core to core flooding pools) and containment cooling condensers (CCC; heat transfer from the containment to the shielding/storage pool).
At Technische Universität Dresden, the test facility GENEVA was constructed for the experimental investigation of the operational behavior of the CCC. GENEVA models the CCC concerning the original thermal hydraulic conditions of the heat source and heat sink as well as the tube geometry for the heat transfer. In this way, the comparability of the thermal hydraulic phenomena is given. Previous experiments focused on the stability analysis of the natural circulation in the test facility.
The focus of PANAS is on the condensation process of saturated steam at the outside of the slightly inclined tubes and the convection respectively boiling of both a stable and an unstable two-phase flow inside these tubes. For a detailed analysis, condensation rates at the outside as well as the flow structure inside have to be investigated experimentally.
Therefore, the instrumentation in the heat transfer section of GENEVA is considerably enhanced. This enhancement comprises an optical measuring system for the film thickness or droplet size of the condensate, a tipping scale for the condensate mass flow, void probes for the steam void fraction and more than 100 thermocouples outside and inside the tubes for temperature profiles in axial, radial and azimuthal direction. By reference to these parameters, it is possible to examine the thermal hydraulic models for the heat transfer.
The paper outlines the available models in system codes regarding condensation and boiling concerning the operating conditions of the CCC. Since dropwise condensation could be observed in previous experiments and the condensation models in system codes focus on film condensation, the review is extended beyond native models. A sensitivity analysis of the reviewed models regarding condensation shows huge differences concerning the value of the heat transfer coefficient. Furthermore, the courses of the condensation models present different dependencies regarding the heat transfer coefficient and the wall temperature. Due to this, the necessity of the experimental investigation and later the revision of the condensation models in system codes is confirmed. The comparison of the reviewed models with first experimental results outlines the tendency for the numerical description of the condensation process.
Based on the investigation and validation of models concerning the heat transfer processes in the CCC, the operational behavior will be accurately predictable by established system codes, which enhances the safety investigation and the licensing. Although the conception of this investigation is founded on the CCC, the adapted models will be able to characterize the heat transfer processes boiling and condensation for saturation conditions at a relatively low pressure (maximum 4 bar) and for natural convection in general.