When a depressurization accident of a very-high-temperature reactor (VHTR) occurs, air is expected to enter into the reactor pressure vessel from the breach and oxidize in-core graphite structures. Therefore, in order to predict or analyze the air ingress phenomena during a depressurization accident, it is important to develop a method for the prevention of air ingress during an accident. In particular, it is also important to examine the influence of localized natural convection and molecular diffusion on the mixing process from a safety viewpoint. Experiment and numerical analysis using a three-dimensional (3D) computational fluid dynamics code have been carried out to obtain the mixing process of two-component gases and the flow characteristics of localized natural convection. The numerical model consists of a storage tank and a reverse U-shaped vertical rectangular passage. One sidewall of the high-temperature side vertical passage is heated, and the other sidewall is cooled. The low-temperature vertical passage is cooled by ambient air. The storage tank is filled with heavy gas and the reverse U-shaped vertical passage is filled with a light gas. The result obtained from the 3D numerical analysis was in agreement with the experimental result quantitatively. The two component gases were mixed via molecular diffusion and natural convection. After some time elapsed, natural circulation occurred through the reverse U-shaped vertical passage. These flow characteristics are the same as those of phenomena generated in the passage between a permanent reflector and a pressure vessel wall of the VHTR.

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