The accident scenario resulting from blockages due to the retention of dust in the coolant gas or from the rupture of one or more fuel particles used in the High Temperature Gas Cooled (Pebble Bed) Nuclear Reactors considered for the next generation of Advanced High Temperature Reactors (AHTR), for nuclear power production, and for high-temperature hydrogen production using nuclear reactors to reduce the carbon footprint is examined in this paper.

Blockages can cause local variations in flow and heat transfer that may lead to hot spots within the bed that could compromise reactor safety. Therefore, it is important to know the void fraction distribution and the interstitial velocity field in the packed bed. The blockage for this numerical study simulated a region with significantly lower void than that in the rest of the bed. Finite difference technique solved the simplified continuity, momentum, and energy equations.

Any meaningful outcome of the solution depended largely upon the validity of the boundary conditions. Among them, the inlet and outlet velocity profiles required special attention. Thus, a close approximation to these profiles obtained from an experimental set-up established the boundary conditions.

This paper presents the development of the elliptic-partial differential equation for a bed of pebbles, and the solution procedure. The paper also discusses velocity and temperature profiles obtained from both numerical and experimental setup, with and without effect of blockage. In addition, the paper compares the results obtained from the experimental set-up with numerical simulation using a commercially available code that uses finite element techniques.

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