A new experimental program using nontransfer (NTR) type plasma heating is under consideration in Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) to clarify the uncertainty on core-material relocation (CMR) behavior of boiling water reactor (BWR). In order to confirm the applicability of this new technology, authors performed preparatory plasma heating tests using small-scale test pieces (107 mm × 107 mm × 222 mm (height)). An excellent perspective in terms of applicability of the NTR plasma heating to melting high melting-temperature materials such as ZrO2 has been obtained. In addition, molten pool was formed at the middle height of the test piece indicating its capability to simulate the initial phase of core degradation behavior consistent with the real UO2 fuel PHEBUS fission products (FP) tests. Furthermore, application of electron probe micro-analyzer (EPMA), scanning electron microscope (SEM)/energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry (EDX), and X-ray computed tomography (CT) led to a conclusion that the pool formed consisted mainly of Zr with some concentration of oxygen which tended to be enhanced at the upper surface region of the pool. Based on these results, an excellent perspective in terms of applicability of the NTR plasma heating technology to the severe accident (SA) experimental study was obtained.

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