In this study, RELAP5’s capability to simulate thermal stratification under different conditions is assessed. In nuclear power plants (NPPs), thermal stratification can occur in the following locations: pressurizer, piping systems such as hot legs, cold legs, surge lines, and cooling tanks if available.
In general, thermal stratification in a horizontal pipe could not be simulated by RELAP5 due to the inherent one-dimensional setting. Moreover, RELAP5 failed to simulate turbulent penetration which was often a pre-requisite prior to thermal stratification in a pipe. This type of situation could arise in connection between hot leg and surge line, spray lines, feed water lines, etc. It is recommended that for this type of problem CFD be used.
In the literature, it was found that RELAP5 was capable of simulating thermal stratification in a pool or a tank-like component if multiple channels and crossflow junctions were used. However, due to uncertainties associated with the input model, the current RELAP5 model failed to reproduce experimental data and therefore further investigation would be required to identify the sources of error.