MYRRHA Core Component Testing in Heavy Liquid Metal Coolant

Graham Kennedy, J. Pacio, Heleen Doolaard, Ivan Di Piazza, Manuela Profir, Vincent Moreau, Katrien Van Tichelen
Safety of heavy liquid metal cooled reactors MAXSIMA & SEARCH Workshop - february 2016
Download the publication : 2016_02_23_MYRRHA Component testing_SEARCH&MAXSIMA Workshop_Sweden_for distribution-1.pdf [7Mo]  
MYRRHA (Multi-purpose hYbrid Research Reactor for High-tech Applications) is a flexible fast-spectrum research reactor under design at SCK•CEN, the Belgian Nuclear Research Center. MYRRHA is a pool-type reactor with Lead Bismuth Eutectic (LBE) as primary coolant. Conceived as an accelerator driven system prototype, it is able to operate in sub-critical mode. Operating in critical mode, MYRRHA is identified as the European Technology Pilot Plant for the Lead Cooled Fast Reactor which is one of the Generation IV reactor concepts. Several aspects of Heavy Liquid Metal technology, essential for the engineering design and safety of MYRRHA and liquid-metal cooled reactors by extension, are the subject of an extensive R&D program at SCK•CEN. In particular, knowledge of the thermal hydraulic and hydrodynamic behaviour of all core components is of primary importance in the design and licensing process. Model experiments are necessary for understanding the physics, for validating numerical tools and to qualify the design for the licensing. For this purpose, numerous experimental facilities have been built at SCK•CEN. One of these, COMPLOT, is a hydraulic LBE test facility representing one core position or in-pile section at full height, which tests full-scale mock-ups of fuel assemblies and control and safety rods. The isothermal fuel assembly tests focus on frictional pressure loss measurements and flow induced vibration, while the control rod tests serve to characterise the hydrodynamic behaviour of the control rod system. Within the framework of various EC FP7 and H2020 projects, SCK•CEN collaborates with numerous research institutes that perform additional core component experiments and supporting numerical analyses. KIT and ENEA performed experimental thermal hydraulic investigations of the heat transfer coefficient in a wire-wrapped fuel bundle, in natural and forced convection flow regimes, which aim to demonstrate the coolability of the fuel assembly under all circumstances. In addition to considering normal operating conditions, further experiments are foreseen at KIT which investigate the thermal-hydraulic behaviour of the fuel assembly with a partial internal blockage, which is a safety issue. NRG and ENEA performed numerical CFD analyses of all of these experimental fuel assembly test sections, with the purpose of test section design input and numerical tool validation. Regarding the control rod experiments in COMPLOT, CRS4 has performed numerical dynamic CFD analyses, also with the purpose of design input and numerical tool validation. This presentation will summarise the major findings from the investigations of the thermal hydraulic and hydrodynamic behaviour of MYRRHA core components such as the fuel assembly and the control and safety rods. Fuel assembly pressure drop, heat transfer, flow induced vibration, partial fuel assembly blockages, and control rod hydrodynamics are presented.

BibTex references

  author       = {Kennedy, G. and Pacio, J. and Doolaard, H. and Piazza, I. and Profir, M. and Moreau, V. and Van Tichelen, K.},
  title        = {MYRRHA Core Component Testing in Heavy Liquid Metal Coolant},
  booktitle    = {Safety of heavy liquid metal cooled reactors MAXSIMA \& SEARCH Workshop},
  month        = {february},
  year         = {2016},
  keywords     = {Fuel assembly, control rod, heavy liquid metals, thermal hydraulics, experimental, numerical},
  url          = {},

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» Graham Kennedy
» J. Pacio
» Heleen Doolaard
» Ivan Di Piazza
» Manuela Profir
» Vincent Moreau
» Katrien Van Tichelen