Abstract

Some of the advanced nuclear reactors employ an ex-vessel core catcher to mitigate core melt scenarios by stabilizing and cooling the corium for a prolonged period by strategically flooding it. The side indirect cooling with top flooding strategy described in this study may lead to water ingression through the melt crust, which may lead to interaction between unoxidized metal and water, leading to hydrogen production. In order to avoid this deleterious scenario, water ingression into the interior region of the melt should be avoided. The studies described in this paper show that water ingression depends on the flooding strategy, i.e., the time delay between top flooding and melt relocation. Two experiments under identical conditions of simulant temperature, melt material, and test section geometry were conducted with simulated decay heat of 1 MW/m3. Sodium borosilicate glass was used as the corium simulant. In the first experiment, water was flooded onto the top of melt pool soon after melt relocation. In the second experiment, water flooding at the top of melt pool was made after 30 min of the melt relocation. The results show that a finite time delay of introduction of water onto the top of the melt pool is paramount to engender the development of a stable crust around the melt and therefore eliminating water ingression into melt pool and ensuring controlled coolability of the melt.

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