Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) methods have been used to estimate the flow patterns mainly driven by temperature gradients inside vapor space in a large-scaled Saltstone vault facility at Savannah River site (SRS). The purpose of this work is to examine the gas motions inside the vapor space under the current vault configurations by taking a three-dimensional transient momentum-energy coupled approach for the vapor space domain of the vault. The modeling calculations were based on prototypic vault geometry and expected normal operating conditions as defined by Waste Solidification Engineering. The modeling analysis was focused on the air flow patterns near the ventilated corner zones of the vapor space inside the Saltstone vault. The turbulence behavior and natural convection mechanism used in the present model were benchmarked against the literature information and theoretical results. The verified model was applied to the Saltstone vault geometry for the transient assessment of the air flow patterns inside the vapor space of the vault region using the potential operating conditions. The baseline model considered two cases for the estimations of the flow patterns within the vapor space. One is the reference baseline case. The other is for the negative temperature gradient between the roof inner and top grout surface temperatures intended for the potential bounding condition. The flow patterns of the vapor space calculated by the CFD model demonstrate that the ambient air comes into the vapor space of the vault through the lower-end ventilation hole, and it gets heated up by the Benard-cell type circulation before leaving the vault via the higher-end ventilation hole. The calculated results are consistent with the literature information. Detailed results and the cases considered in the calculations will be discussed here.

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