Nowadays Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) have been receiving considerable attentions worldwide for potential advantages of an excellent flexibility for siting, low capital investment, and advanced safety. In Korea, a new research project has launched for the development of a conceptual design of a further advanced SMR which aims for a naturally-safe and autonomous operation, so called Autonomous Transportable On-demand reactor Module (ATOM). Major design objectives of the ATOM system are focused on the soluble boron-free (SBF) primary coolant system which enables the SMR to operate automatically in a load following mode. For the secondary system, the SCO2 power conversion cycle with air-cooling system as a final heat sink is being considered. The air-cooling system is expected to show flexible response even to extreme environmental conditions, such as a desert where utilization of cooling water is limited.
The objective of this study is a feasibility assessment for applying the air-cooling system as a final heat sink of the ATOM by means of experimental work. As a 1st phase of the ATOM development, we first conducted the experiments using a typically considered primary coolant, water-steam, to verify that air flow has enough cooling capability to remove developed heat which the coolant carries. An Integrated Condensation Loop with Air-cooling System (ICLASS) experimental facility with three pressure boundaries (Steam, coolant, and air) was established. The cooling capability of the air-cooling system was evaluated by varying steam mass flow rate, coolant flow rate, and air environment temperature as experiment variables. Overall heat transfer rate by condensation was compared with numerical simulations of a 1D thermal-hydraulics analysis code, using the MARS model of the ICLASS facility.