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Corium melt researches at VESTA test facility

  • Received : 2016.09.12
  • Accepted : 2017.06.19
  • Published : 2017.10.25

Abstract

VESTA (Verification of Ex-vessel corium STAbilization) and VESTA-S (-small) test facilities were constructed at the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute in 2010 to perform various corium melt experiments. Since then, several tests have been performed for the verification of an ex-vessel core catcher design for the EU-APR1400. Ablation tests of an impinging $ZrO_2$ melt jet on a sacrificial material were performed to investigate the ablation characteristics. $ZrO_2$ melt in an amount of 65-70 kg was discharged onto a sacrificial material through a well-designed nozzle, after which the ablation depths were measured. Interaction tests between the metallic melt and sacrificial material were performed to investigate the interaction kinetics of the sacrificial material. Two types of melt were used: one is a metallic corium melt with Fe 46%, U 31%, Zr 16%, and Cr 7% (maximum possible content of U and Zr for C-40), and the other is a stainless steel (SUS304) melt. Metallic melt in an amount of 1.5-2.0 kg was delivered onto the sacrificial material, and the ablation depths were measured. Penetration tube failure tests were performed for an APR1400 equipped with 61 in-core instrumentation penetration nozzles and extended tubes at the reactor lower vessel. $ZrO_2$ melt was generated in a melting crucible and delivered down into an interaction crucible where the test specimen is installed. To evaluate the tube ejection mechanism, temperature distributions of the reactor bottom head and in-core instrumentation penetration were measured by a series of thermocouples embedded along the specimen. In addition, lower vessel failure tests for the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are being performed. As a first step, the configuration of the molten core in the plant was investigated by a melting and solidification experiment. Approximately 5 kg of a mixture, whose composition in terms of weight is $UO_2$ 60%, Zr 10%, $ZrO_2$ 15%, SUS304 14%, and $B_4C$ 1%, was melted in a cold crucible using an induction heating technique.

Acknowledgement

Supported by : National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF)

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