The work presented in this paper presents new techniques for modeling the combined use of the Reactor Core Isolation Cooling (RCIC) System and Accident Tolerant Fuel (ATF) in a Boiling Water Reactor (BWR). With guidance from Sandia National Laboratories’ Severe Accident Analysis department, a MELCOR BWR model was developed from open source literature. The demonstration shown herein simulates BWR long-term station blackout (LTSBO) conditions with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) MELCOR severe accident analysis code. By combining state-of-the-art MELCOR modeling practices with new, physics-based RCIC System and ATF MELCOR inputs, this BWR model provides a contemporary platform for BWR severe accident simulations.

The authors are investigating the combined use of the RCIC System and ATF as a means of passively enhancing reactor safety. The benefits of this approach were evaluated by performing simulations using traditional fuel designs (i.e. Zircaloy cladding) and ATF with an iron-chromium-aluminum (FeCrAl) clad under BWR LTSBO conditions. ATF performance was evaluated using severe accident metrics, specifically event sequence timings and the hydrogen production rate from cladding oxidation. Preliminary results show delayed core degradation timelines with less hydrogen production for ATF simulations. Although the results are limited in scope, the presented analysis could easily be expanded to a full-scale uncertainty study that considers a range of severe accident boundary conditions.

This paper describes objective technical results and analysis. Any subjective views or opinions that might be expressed in the paper do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Department of Energy or the United States Government.

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