Control room habitability (CRH) shall be maintained to provide adequate protection for control room operators, such that they can remain in the control room envelope (CRE) safely for an extended period and thus control the nuclear facility during normal and accident conditions. A critical objective of CRH systems is to limit operator doses and/or exposure to toxic gases. The CRH systems does this by the combination of the intake of filtered air, isolation of outside air, recirculation systems and etc.

Among the parameters determining radioactivity in a control room (in proportion to radiation doses of operators), intake flowrate of filtered air is an important one. For different types of accident source terms, the evolution of operator doses in a control room versus intake flowrate were analyzed in this paper. It turns out that the increase of intake flowrate results in larger operator doses when inert radioactive gases are the dominant radioactive substances. On the contrary, increasing intake flowrate does good to lower the irradiation level of control room operators when radioactive aerosols dominate the source terms. The rationality behind this fact was interpreted in detail in this paper, with special attention paid to the unfiltered in-leakage rate. It can be inferred that an optimal intake flowrate probably exists leading to the minimum operator dose under an actual accident condition.

This paper then performed a calculation analysis based on design parameters and source terms of design basis accident of LOCA (a large break loss of coolant accident) accident. The evolution of operator dose was found to be a U-curve versus increasing intake flowrate, which proved the existence of the abovementioned optimal intake flowrate of filtered air for CRH systems. Furthermore, the sensitivity analysis of intake flowrate was carried out to study the effects of unfiltered in-leakage rate and filtered recirculation.

This study indicates that intake flowrate of filtered air can significantly influence the CRH. For different accidents, the intake flowrate should be properly modified rather than set as a fixed value. To optimize the radiological habitability of control rooms, the effects of unfiltered in-leakage must be taken into consideration. Besides, filtered recirculation is an effective way to control radiation exposure caused by iodine and radioactive aerosols.

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