The Terry turbine is a small, single-stage, compound-velocity impulse turbine originally designed and manufactured by the Terry Steam Turbine Company purchased by Ingersoll-Rand in 1974. Terry turbines are currently manufactured and marketed by Dresser-Rand. Terry turbines were principally designed for waste-steam applications. Terry turbopumps are ubiquitous to the US nuclear fleet as a steam driven turbopump in either the reactor core isolation cooling system (RCIC) and high pressure coolant injection systems for boiling water reactors (BWRs) or in the auxiliary feedwater system (AFW) system for pressurized water reactors (PWRs).

Prior to the accidents at Fukushima Daiichi, assumptions and modeling of the performance of Terry turbopumps were based mostly on generic vendor use of NEMA SM23 Steam Turbine for Mechanical Drive Service guidance [1]. However, the RCIC/AFW system performance (i.e., the Terry turbopump) under beyond design basis event (BDBE) conditions is poorly known and largely based on conservative assumptions used in probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) applications. For example, common PRA practice holds that battery power (DC) is required for RCIC operation to control the vessel water level, and that loss of DC power results in RCIC flooding of the steam lines and an assumed subsequent failure of the RCIC turbopump system. This assumption for PRA implies that RCIC operation should terminate on battery depletion which can range from 4 to 12 hours. In contrast, real-world observation from Fukushima Daiichi Unit 2 shows that RCIC function was not terminated by uncontrolled steam line flooding or loss of control power, and in fact provided coolant injection for nearly three days [2].

There is a current effort being undertaken by the US industry, the US Department of Energy (DOE), and the Government of Japan to investigate the true operating band of the Terry turbopump for BDBE conditions. This paper provides a summary of the experimental and modeling efforts to date.

Paper published with permission.

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