One of the requirements for licensing a nuclear power plant in the U.S is the capability to survive and recover from a station blackout according to the U.S Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC). Station blackout is the loss of all off-site and onsite power simultaneously. Therefore, experimental test facilities are being constructed and operated to test the performance of the related safety systems in a nuclear power plant. Design and construction of a test facility creates the need to perform scaling analysis to ensure proper representation of key components and phenomena of interest. One of the main outcomes of the scaling analysis is the quantitative estimation of the Similarity Level (SL), which requires derivation of dimensionless scaling parameters and prediction of appropriate input values for the scaling parameters.
To study the performance of the Reactor Core Isolation Cooling (RCIC) system, the Nuclear Heat Transfer Systems (NHTS) Laboratory at Texas A&M University has constructed and is operating a RCIC test facility. This paper presents the scaling analysis with reference to a full-size RCIC system and the RCIC system turbine was used as the main component for scaling. The input parameters for dimensionless scaling parameters were obtained through experimental measurements and CFD analysis. The CFD analysis is for the ZS-1 RCIC system turbine model. The STAR-CCM+ CFD code was used in this study to create and run simulations for steady state normal and abnormal operating conditions for the NHTS-developed CAD models.
The input for the dimensionless scaling parameters was estimated. Input parameters were collected both experimentally and from CFD simulations and inserted into these equations. As a result, a high degree of similarity was confirmed, with a minimum of 82% between the NHTS and full-size RCIC systems. The 82% represents the amount of transfer properties conserved between the two systems. Consequently, this high similarity level allows the NHTS RCIC system to be used to study the behavior of the full-size RCIC system under Beyond Design Bases Accident (BDBA) conditions.
Future work is to study and model other components of the RCIC system such as the suppression chamber to estimate similarity levels and study their effects on behavior of the system under BDBA.