Very-high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (VHTR) has good inherent safety and is one of the six reactor technologies of Generation IV nuclear energy systems. The ultra-high core outlet temperature makes VHTR suitable for process heat applications such as hydrogen production. The intermediate heat exchanger (IHX) is the key equipment for energy transfer between VHTR and the process heat application system. To verify the high temperature performance of IHX, it is generally necessary to set up a high temperature helium test system to conduct a series of performance tests. In this experimental system, a well-behaved water cooler needs to be designed to cool down the high-temperature helium in the experimental loop to ensure the safety of the experimental system. In the present study, the effect of the cooling water flow rate G, the cooling water injection position L, and the lower heat exchange tubes material were analyzed. The results show that increasing the flow rate of the cooling water, the maximum temperature of the tube sheet Tmax decreases and the temperature gradient in the flow direction ∇Ty increases. Tmax increases first and then decreases with the increasing L. There exists an optimal cooling water injection position between L = 175mm and 225mm. The variation of ∇Ty is the opposite. The use of ceramic instead of steel reduces Tmax by about 295K and reduces ∇Ty by half. Subsequent research and optimization on structure parameters of the water cooler are expected to further improve the cooling performance.

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