The potential of losing post-Loss Of Coolant Accident (LOCA) recirculation capability due to debris blockage of Emergency Core Cooling (ECC) strainers resulted in early replacements of ECC strainers in most nuclear power plants. To validate the performance of ECC strainers, extensive testing representing plant conditions is required. Such testing programs include thin-bed and full debris load pressure drop tests, fibre bypass tests and chemical effects tests. Multiple testing loops and state-of-the-art analysis techniques have provided in-depth understanding of sump strainer performance and the effect of chemical precipitation on debris bed head loss.
ECC strainers typically use perforated plates as filtering surfaces with 1.6 to 2.5 mm holes and 35 to 40% open area, allowing some particulates and fibres to pass through the strainer filtering surfaces. Recently, the bypassed fibrous debris has been identified as a potential safety concern due to its possible deposition in the reactor core and blocking of flow into fuel assemblies. In some cases, the amount of fibre that is specified as allowed to enter a reactor core is only 15 g per fuel assembly for pressurized water reactors. Characterization and quantification of bypassed fibre debris for nuclear power plants are needed to address regulatory requirements. Testing methodology and analysis techniques to address regulatory requirements and concerns are presented in this paper. In particular, a newly developed technique is presented to address debris bypass quantification.