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Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile e Industriale

Corso di Laurea Magistrale in Ingegneria Nucleare

Preliminary study of MYRRHA control system analysis

Relatori Candidato

Prof. Ing. Nicola Forgione Giulia Morresi

Prof. Ing. Walter Ambrosini

Ing. Diego Castelliti

Dr. Gert Van den Eynde

Anno Accademico 2013/2014


1
ABSTRACT

The present work has been carried out during an internship at the research center
SCKCEN in Mol (Belgium). The technical activity has been performed in the framework
of MYRRHA project.
MYRRHA is a fast spectrum irradiation facility under development at SCKCEN. In
the context of new nuclear reactor studies, the MYRRHA project contributes to the
demonstration of ADS applications and to material testing for GEN IV and fusion
reactors, representing an experimental plant for Lead Fast Reactor technology.
The main purpose of this Master Thesis consists in analyzing part of the control
systems considered for the MYRRHA plant by the use of both graphical programming
languages and system code calculations.
The plant control strategy foresees two main control systems: the power control
through the control rod movement, and the secondary pressure control through the
tertiary fan air flow rate change.
In order to study the behavior of the plant under controlled action, the development of a
dynamic plant model has been necessary.
Two paths have been initially undertaken in order to simulate MYRRHA reactor
dynamics: the first one foresaw a very simple and schematic plant model simulated
through lumped parameter balance equations in MATLAB Simulink environment. This
approach should have provided fast running transients and easy implementation of the
controllers. The components requiring only single phase balance equations to be
properly represented have been developed through differential energy balances
implementation, while two-phase systems have required a different approach.
The second way followed is instead characterized by a more detailed neutronic
and thermal-hydraulic plant model in which computationally heavier (i. e. slower)
calculations and less intuitive control system implementation were the prices to pay in
order to obtain more accurate results. In fact, the thermal-hydraulics of such a complex
plant required the implementation of a model capable to follow the non linearities of the
system itself. This is the reason why the second part of the work was devoted to the
development of a RELAP5-3D model of MYRRHA.
Even if a detailed model of the plant was already available, there were two main
reasons to develop a new one: first of all, the full knowledge of an own-made model and
in general the mastery of the code would not have been possible simply by adopting an
already existing one. Secondly, some technical choices were made in order to simplify
the computational cost of the calculation, i. e. a reduced number of volumes in the
discretization of the plant system.
The possibility to couple the system code, to describe the dynamics of the system,
and graphical programming languages, to implement the control logics, appears a
feasible and interesting future development of the work performed during this analysis.

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3
Table of Contents
ABSTRACT .......................................................................................................................................................... 2
1 Introduction ............................................................................................................................................... 7
1.1 MYRRHA........................................................................................................................................... 10
1.2 SCKCEN .......................................................................................................................................... 11
2 MYRRHA general description .................................................................................................................. 13
2.1 Core ................................................................................................................................................. 14
2.1.1 Neutronic feedbacks ................................................................................................................ 15
2.1.2 Control Rod system ................................................................................................................. 17
2.2 Vessel and diaphragm ..................................................................................................................... 17
2.3 Primary cooling system ................................................................................................................... 19
2.3.1 Primary Heat eXchangers ........................................................................................................ 20
2.3.2 Primary Pumps......................................................................................................................... 22
2.4 Secondary and tertiary cooling systems .......................................................................................... 23
2.5 Decay Heat Removal systems .......................................................................................................... 25
3 MYRRHA Control strategy........................................................................................................................ 27
3.1 PID controllers ................................................................................................................................. 27
3.2 Power control system ...................................................................................................................... 29
3.3 Secondary pressure control ............................................................................................................. 31
3.4 Future developments for the MYRRHA control strategy ................................................................ 32
4 MYRRHA MATLAB - Simulink model ........................................................................................................ 34
4.1 Neutronics ....................................................................................................................................... 35
4.2 Core thermal - hydraulics ................................................................................................................ 36
4.3 Reactivity feedbacks ........................................................................................................................ 38
4.4 Primary circuit thermal - hydraulics ................................................................................................ 39
4.5 Heat transfer components .............................................................................................................. 43
4.5.1 Transfer functions from RELAP5 - 3D data .............................................................................. 44
5 MYRRHA RELAP5 3D model .................................................................................................................. 48
5.1 RELAP5 3D system code................................................................................................................ 48
5.2 Code solving methodologies ........................................................................................................... 48
5.2.1 Thermal hydraulics ............................................................................................................... 48
5.2.2 Heat transfer............................................................................................................................ 52
5.2.3 Neutron kinetics ...................................................................................................................... 53
5.3 RELAP5 - 3D model description ....................................................................................................... 55

4
5.3.1 Core ......................................................................................................................................... 56
5.3.2 Primary system ........................................................................................................................ 56
5.3.3 Secondary and tertiary systems .............................................................................................. 57
5.4 Control system implemented .......................................................................................................... 61
5.4.1 Control rod reactivity system .................................................................................................. 61
5.4.2 Secondary pressure control system ........................................................................................ 62
6 Results of MYRRHA RELAP5 -3D simulations ........................................................................................... 65
6.1 Increase in inlet air temperature ..................................................................................................... 66
6.2 Decrease in inlet air temperature ................................................................................................... 68
6.3 Air fan slow down transient ............................................................................................................ 75
6.4 First primary pump trip ................................................................................................................... 81
6.5 First secondary pump slow down .................................................................................................... 88
6.6 Single steam line partial blockage ................................................................................................... 91
6.7 Start-up transient ............................................................................................................................ 96
6.8 Shutdown....................................................................................................................................... 107
6.9 Power ramp 80% 100% ............................................................................................................. 115
6.10 Power ramp 100% 80% ............................................................................................................. 118
7 Results of sensitivity analyses ............................................................................................................... 120
7.1 Single steam line partial blockage sensitivity ................................................................................ 121
7.2 Inlet air temperature decrease sensitivity .................................................................................... 132
7.3 Start-up sensitivity ......................................................................................................................... 139
8 Conclusions ............................................................................................................................................ 154
APPENDIX A ................................................................................................................................................... 156
Acknowledgements ....................................................................................................................................... 162
Bibliography ................................................................................................................................................... 163

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6
1 Introduction

The most advanced research field for nuclear reactor technology is currently
represented by Generation IV studies [1.1].
The Heavy Liquid Metal Fast Breeder Reactor (HLMFBR) is one of the most
promising solutions proposed to cope with problems such as nuclear waste, long
term radioactivity and consumption of nuclear fuel. In particular, fast reactors offer
the possibility of burning actinides and breeding more fuel than they consume, so that
nuclear can guarantee a sustainable, safe and economic future from the energetic
point of view [1.2].
The fast reactor prototype has no moderator and relies on fast neutrons alone
to cause fission. It usually uses MOX as its basic fuel because the number of neutrons
produced per Pu-239 fission is 25% larger than from uranium (U), and this means
that neutrons are enough not only to maintain the chain reaction but also to convert
U-238 (blanket) into more Pu-239.
Figure 1.1 shows the increase of the average number of neutrons released per
fission at high energies and the fact that this number is greater in the case of Pu
respect to U fissile isotopes [1.3].

Fig 1.1: Average neutron number per fission as a function of incident particle energy, for
different fissile isotopes [1.3]

7
Figure 1.2: for common fissile isotopes as a function of energy

Figure 1.2 shows the number of fission neutron produced per absorption in the fuel,
. Its relation with is the following [1.4]:

where the values for Pu-239 are higher than the ones for U isotopes at fast neutron
energies. In the thermal energy range the most convenient fissile would be U-233.
The coolant is a liquid metal for two main reasons: to avoid neutron
moderation, in fact heavy nuclei are less efficient in scattering and slowing down the
particles, and to provide a very efficient heat transfer medium in order to cool down
the high power density produced in the compact FR core [1.4].
The good heat transfer properties of liquid metals comes from their large
thermal diffusivity and volumetric specific heat cp [1.5]. These two parameters
affect convection through two different processes of conduction and turbulence
diffusion, resulting in an effective thermal conductivity which is higher than for
normal fluids (e. g. water).
The positive aspect of heavy liquid metals instead of "light" ones (mainly
sodium, Na) is related to their low chemical reactivity with the environment (air,
water). The choice of lead as heavy liquid metal for nuclear applications appears the
only feasible one, even if it presents many problems, first of all the melting
temperature (323 C) that is relatively high compared to other liquid metal coolants
used in nuclear technology (e. g., Na, Tmelt = ~80 C) . This is the reason why Lead

8
Bismuth Eutectic (LBE) technology was introduced (melting temperature 127 C)
[1.5].
Given for granted the advantages in developing a fast nuclear reactor, the main
limitations and issues still present for LBE technology are briefly presented below:

- Material problems: Corrosion from heavy liquid metal is surely the most
significant among the difficulties encountered in developing a HLMR [1.6], even
more if the specific environment plays a critical role in terms of high
temperature and irradiation effects (embrittlement, creep, swelling) [1.7].

- Chemical problems: Oxygen dilution represents a limit in operation


temperatures for the primary LBE coolant; in particular the oxygen
concentration in the coolant must be comprised in a range of values in which
the minimum is fixed in order to avoid the clad material dissolution problem
and the maximum to avoid the lead oxide precipitation. These limitations
become stricter with the increase of temperature (see Figure 1.3) and this is the
reason why the range of operating temperatures is relatively narrow [1.8].

Figure 1.3: Oxygen concentration limitation for operational temperatures [1.7]

- Radioprotection problems: Polonium production is caused by neutron capture


of bismuth as follows [1.9]:

9
is a highly radioactive and chemically toxic element.

- Mechanical problems: maximum velocity of the fluid limited to 2 m/s mainly


due to erosion issues [1.7].

These main issues are also the main reasons why HLMRs technology still represents a
field of research for nuclear energy.

1.1 MYRRHA

In this background context SCKCEN is playing an important role through the choice
of developing MYRRHA.
MYRRHA stands for Multi-purpose hYbrid Research Reactor for High-tech
Applications [1.10]. It is a multifunctional research facility for innovative applications.
MYRRHA is the world's first prototype of a subcritical lead-bismuth cooled reactor
capable to be driven by a particle accelerator. The main objective of MYRRHA is to be
a flexible fast spectrum irradiation sub-critical facility with the ability to operate also
in critical mode, thus requiring two different core designs for the two different
modes. The fast neutron spectrum offers the perspective of a vastly more efficient use
of uranium resources and the ability to burn minor actinides which are otherwise the
long-lived component of high-level nuclear wastes.
The project was firstly proposed in 1999 as a multi-purpose irradiation facility
in order to replace the currently operating BR2 reactor. The design of MYRRHA
facility is still under development due to the contemporary advancements in research
and design chosen for the project itself; in particular this choice leads to a continuous
updating process for the technical design, according to new findings of the ongoing
R&D projects.
To introduce the context in which the MYRRHA design idea was born, it must be
mentioned the interest for Accelerator Driven Systems (ADS) from the last years of
the past century: in fact in 1998 some European countries such as Spain, Italy and
France established an European platform aimed at the development of Accelerator
Driven System from which it was decided the construction of an Experimental
Accelerator Driven system to assess its technical and economic feasibility [1.11].
Among the European research projects, MYRRHA has received particular interest and
economic support since 1998.
The flexibility of the design, achieved in the framework of the Central Design
Team (CDT) project [1.12], allows two different configurations of the reactor in which
the ADS technology is used or not. In the subcritical mode the plant includes a proton
accelerator of 600 MeV 3.5 mA, a spallation target and a multiplying medium (the
core itself). The particle accelerator is used as an external neutron source to create
and maintain the chain reaction in a reactor where the effective multiplication factor
is less than unity, keff ~ 0.9745. This highly safe and controllable nuclear technology

10
allows stopping the nuclear reaction automatically by switching off the particle
accelerator.
The new research field on ADS technology can present some initial difficulties in
the management of such complex and delicate system. This is the main reason why a
critical mode of operation has been seen as a solution to possible delays and
maintenance issues related to the particle accelerator. The configuration taken into
account in this Master Thesis work is the critical one, in which the control rod system
assures the reactivity balance.

1.2 SCKCEN

SCKCEN (StudieCentrum voor Kernenergie Centre d'Etudes de l'energie Nucleaire) is


one of the largest research institutions in Belgium. It was founded in 1952 and since
then it has played a pioneering role in giving the Belgian academic and industrial
world access to the worldwide development of nuclear energy [1.13].

Among the nuclear installations developed at SCKCEN, the following must be


mentioned:

- BR1: the oldest research reactor in Belgium, it became critical on 11 May 1956
and is still used for research, silicon production for semiconductor materials
and educational purposes. It is a graphite-moderated air-cooled reactor with a
maximum thermal power of 4 MW, fueled by natural uranium.

- BR2: from the first start-up in 6 July 1961, this high-flux research reactor is still
operating. Fueled by highly enriched uranium in a beryllium matrix, it has been
refurbished twice up to now. It is used for the production of medical isotopes
and the irradiation of silicon to obtain n-doped silicon by transmutation.

- BR3: started in 19 August 1962, it has been the first PWR in western Europe
with the aim of being a demonstration unit for an industrial power station and
of constituting a test reactor for prototype nuclear fuel. It has been chosen as a
pilot project for the demonstration of the decommissioning of PWR [1.14].

- VENUS: Vulcan Experimental Nuclear Studies facility has been operating since
1964. In 2008 SCKCEN began the rebuilding of VENUS for the GUINEVERE
project (Generator of Uninterrupted Intense NEutrons at the lead VEnus
REactor). The project started in 2010 and since then the reactor has been
known as VENUS F (First) scale model of a subcritical reactor with a total lead
core driven by a particle accelerator.

- HADES: High Activity Disposal Experimental site Storing is an underground


laboratory 225 m below the ground built for the storage of high level
radioactive waste in deep layers of clay.
11
- Nuclear and non-nuclear laboratories: among them the laboratory for high and
medium level activity (LHMA) is one of the most important at SCKCEN.

SCKCEN is working since several years at the design of MYRRHA, which will replace
the BR2 MTR. The Belgian center of research is positioning MYRRHA as one of the
corner stones of the European Research Area Experimental Reactors (ERAER). As
stated in the Strategic Research Agenda of the Sustainable Nuclear Energy
Technology Platform (SNETP), Europe can only retain its worldwide leading position
in the field of reactor technology and related future developments, if it provides for
the necessary research infrastructure [1.10]. In practice, this will require the
complete renewal of the ERAER, which will be based on three pillars:

- Jules Horowitz Reactor (JHR) in Cadarache (France) [1.15]


- PALLAS in Petten (the Netherlands) [1.16]
- MYRRHA in Mol (Belgium) [1.10]

MYRRHA will fulfill the role of European Technology Pilot Plant (ETPP) in the
roadmap for the development of the lead fast reactor technology.
Among the aims of the MYRRHA project, the research on transmutation of minor
actinides, the research on material and nuclear fuel, the production of medical
isotopes and semiconductors doping and the demonstrative character of a facility for
the Lead Fast Reactor technology are the main ones.
The next chapter will describe the technical choices performed in order to
develop a facility capable to cope with these purposes.

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2 MYRRHA general description

In this section, the reactor configuration and the parameters employed in this work
are summarized. MYRRHA is a 110 MWth pool-type HLMFR.
Its primary system configuration is depicted in Figure 2.1 [2.1].
All the primary components (e. g. the core, the Primary Heat eXchangers (PHXs)
and the Primary Pumps (PPs)) are contained within the reactor vessel. The coolant
flow coming from the cold plenum enters the core and, once passed through the
latter, is collected in the barrel and from here into the hot plenum to be distributed in
the 4 PHXs. After leaving the PHXs, the coolant enters the cold plenum passing
through the PPs (1 pump serving 2 PHXs) and returns to the core.
The main components described in this section are summarized below:
Core
- Neutronic feedbacks
- Control Rod system
Vessel and diaphragm
Primary cooling system
- Primary Heat Exchangers
- Primary Pumps
Secondary cooling system and tertiary cooling system
Decay Heat Removal (DHR) systems

E G
H
B

A. Reactor Vessel F. In-Vessel Fuel Handling


B. Reactor Diaphragm Machine
C. Reactor Cover G. Core Barrel
D. Primary Heat Exchanger H. Reactor core
E. Primary Pump I. Core Restraint System

Figure 2.1: Overview of the MYRRHA Primary System [2.1]

The description of the plant design provided in this Chapter is referred to the last
MYRRHA Design Version 1.6 Technical Description [2.1].
13
2.1 Core

The MYRRHA core is composed by 108 wrapped hexagonal fuel assemblies with pins
arranged on a triangular lattice. This Fuel Assembly (FA) design is similar to the
typical design used in fast spectrum reactors cooled by liquid sodium (SFR). Each of
the 108 FAs is composed by 127 MOX type fuel elements, with a Plutonium weight
fraction of 30%.
In Figure 2.2 a section of the critical core with the complete definition of all the
different position channels has been provided.
12 / 27 13 / 28
12 / 26 13 / 27 14 / 28
12 / 25 13 / 26 14 / 27 15 / 28
12 / 24 13 / 25 14 / 26 15 / 27 16 / 28
12 / 23 13 / 24 14 / 25 15 / 26 16 / 27 17 / 28
12 / 22 13 / 23 14 / 24 15 / 25 16 / 26 17 / 27 18 / 28
12 / 21 13 / 22 14 / 23 15 / 24 16 / 25 17 / 26 18 / 27 19 / 28
13 / 21 14 / 22 15 / 23 16 / 24 17 / 25 18 / 26 19 / 27
13 / 20 14 / 21 15 / 22 16 / 23 17 / 24 18 / 25 19 / 26 20 / 27
13 / 19 14 / 20 15 / 21 16 / 22 17 / 23 18 / 24 19 / 25 20 / 26 21 / 27
14 / 19 15 / 20 16 / 21 17 / 22 18 / 23 19 / 24 20 / 25 21 / 26
14 / 18 15 / 19 16 / 20 17 / 21 18 / 22 19 / 23 20 / 24 21 / 25 22 / 26
15 / 18 16 / 19 17 / 20 18 / 21 19 / 22 20 / 23 21 / 24 22 / 25
15 / 17 16 / 18 17 / 19 18 / 20 19 / 21 20 / 22 21 / 23 22 / 24 23 / 25
16 / 17 17 / 18 18 / 19 19 / 20 20 / 21 21 / 22 22 / 23 23 / 24
16 / 16 17 / 17 18 / 18 19 / 19 20 / 20 21 / 21 22 / 22 23 / 23 24 / 24
17 / 16 18 / 17 19 / 18 20 / 19 21 / 20 22 / 21 23 / 22 24 / 23
17 / 15 18 / 16 19/ 17 20 / 18 21 / 19 22 / 20 23 / 21 24 / 22 25 / 23
18 / 15 19 / 16 20 / 17 21 / 18 22 / 19 23 / 20 24 / 21 25 / 22
18 / 14 19 / 15 20 / 16 21 / 17 22 / 18 23 / 19 24 / 20 25 / 21 26 / 22
108 FA 19 / 14 20 / 15 21 / 16 22 / 17 23 / 18 24 / 19 25 / 20 26 / 21
19 / 13 20 / 14 21 / 15 22 / 16 23 / 17 24 / 18 25 / 19 26 / 20 27 / 21
4 IPS 20 / 13 21 / 14 22 / 15 23 / 16 24 / 17 25 / 18 26 / 19 27 / 20
21 / 13 22 / 14 23 / 15 24 / 16 25 / 17 26 / 18 27 / 19

6 CR (buoyancy) 21 / 12
22 / 12
22 / 13 23 / 14 24 / 15 25 / 16 26 / 17 27 / 18 28 / 19
23 / 13 24 / 14 25 / 15 26 / 16 27 / 17 28 / 18

3 SR (gravity) 23 / 12 24 / 13
25 / 13
25 / 14
26 / 14
26 / 15
27 / 15
27 / 16
28 / 16
28 / 17
24 / 12

48 Dummy (LBE) 25 / 12
26 / 12
26 / 13
27 / 13
27 / 14
28 / 14
28 / 15

42 Reflector (Be) 27 / 12 28 / 13

Figure 2.2 - 108 FA-100 MW maximum critical core layout [2.2]

Figure 2.3 summarizes the fuel pin and the FA architecture main features.

0.45 0.115 (P) * 2.95 mm clearance among FA


8.4 mm 104.5* mm
101.55
d
97.55

1.75
5.42 1.85
5.65 d/D = 0.267
VF (Fuel/FA) 31%
6.55 (D) P/D = 1.28244*
*yields rounded d, P d+0.1mm
Fuel
Fissile zone VF [%] 127 Phnix Pins
He MOX (fuel) 30.9834 (6 pin rows)
Clad He (gap) 2.6854
15/15 Ti SS (clad+wire*) 14.8266
Wrap FMS T91 (wrap) 7.2929
Geometrical
LBE LBE (coolant) 44.2117
* Helical wire pitch = 40*D data at 20 C

Figure 2.3 Reference FA design [2.2]

14
Table 2.1 schematically shows the main core pin and FA parameters given by design.

Table 2.1 - Main MYRRHA 1.6 core parameters

Core
Number of positions 211
Core diameter 1900 mm
Layout Centralized around the central position
Maximum core pressure drop 2.5 bar
Fuel
Fuel type MOX, 30 % wt. PuO2
Pellet type Solid pellet
Pellet dimension Outside diameter 5.42 mm
Fuel pin clad 15 15 Ti
Fuel pin dimension Outside/Inside diameter 6.55 mm/5.65 mm
Fuel pin length 1500 mm
Fuel active height 65 cm
Fuel assembly
Assembly type Hexagonal fuel bundle with wrapper
P/D 1.28
Number of pins 127
Wrapper material T91
Spacer type Wire spacer in 15-15Ti
Assembly length 2250 mm
Maximum LBE bulk velocity 2 m/s

2.1.1 Neutronic feedbacks

The power variations in a critical reactor depend mainly on reactivity variations and
secondly on the effective delayed neutron fraction (eff) and mean neutron lifetime
(lec). The following definitions apply [2.3]:

- Reactivity is the balance of nuclear reaction rates normalized by the neutron


production rate.
- eff is the contribution of delayed neutrons to reactivity, while is the fraction of
delayed neutrons in the total amount of fission neutrons. for Pu 239 is 0.002,
while the value for U235 is 0.006; MOX fuel, which is composed by Pu and U,
(mainly U238), (30% and 70% respectively for the MYRRHA core) has a weighted
eff value of 0.0032, meaning a smaller margin to prompt criticality respect with
U fissile material.
- lec is the average time from a neutron emission to a capture that results in
fission; the mean generation time is different from the prompt neutron lifetime
15
because the first one only includes neutron absorptions that lead to fission
reactions (no other absorption reactions); they are related together through the
effective multiplication factor. lec in a fast reactor is of the order of fraction of s,
almost three orders of magnitude smaller than for a thermal reactor. This
means that a fast reactor is faster in response both to positive and to negative
power variations.

The first term is related to the particular transient under exam and is equal
to zero at steady state conditions.
The feedback term in the reactivity balance is expressed through the reactivity
coefficients as neutronic parameters of the core. Negative coolant/void density, axial
expansion and Doppler effects are the major reactivity feedbacks considered. These
feedbacks are related to temperature variations of the fuel and the LBE coolant as
follows:

where the first term at RHS is the Doppler reactivity feedback, which has a
logarithmic trend respect to fuel temperature.
The second term represents the axial expansion of the fuel.
The third term is the density variation of the LBE coolant.
Based on the thermo-physical properties of core materials, these neutronic
features depend on the core layout under study: in this case the layout considered is
the maximum critical core in BoC conditions.
The maximum core entails 108 FA at the equilibrium. To evaluate the reactivity
coefficients, the data have been obtained in the framework of FP7 - MAXSIMA project
[2.2].

Table 2.2 - Reactivity coefficients for MYRRHA core [2.2]

Dk eff
Component Material Elementary Perturbation Variation keff
( pcm )
Density reduction -1% 1.07017 -471 Dk eff / T
Fuel MOX
Height increase +1.5 cm 1.08016 528 [pcm K-1]
Density reduction overall pin lenght -10% 1.07638 150
Clad 15-15/Ti -0.022
External radius increase +5% 1.06624 -864
Density reduction overall pin lenght -10% 1.07524 36
Wrap T91 External apothem increase +2.5% 1.06816 -672 -0.049
Pin pitch increase +2.0% 1.07456 -32
Density reduction in the fissile zone 1.07393 -95
Coolant LBE -5% -0.241
Density reduction overall pin lenght 1.07393 -95

For the third term in the reactivity balance, the absorber rods come into play.

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2.1.2 Control Rod system

Two different and independent control rod systems have been foreseen, namely the
Control Rods (CRs) and the Safety Rods (SRs). Flux shaping and reactivity
compensation during the cycle are performed by the former, while the simultaneous
use of both is foreseen for scram purposes, assuring the required reliability for a safe
shutdown. The activation of both systems is passively driven by gravity. In the case of
the CR, the insertion from the bottom is due to the buoyancy effect in LBE while the
SR movement is downward by pneumatic assisted fall in gas-filled driving tube. Due
to their different functions the CR are partially inserted in the core for most of the
operating time of the reactor, while the SR can be fully extracted (normal condition)
or completely inserted (emergency shutdown condition). The CRs are positioned at
the periphery of the core in order not to decrease the flux in the center: as MYRRHA is
a material testing reactor, the central part of the core contains In Pile Sections (IPSs)
for material testing purposes.

Table 2.3 Absorber data [2.1]

Absorber rods
Absorber Boron-carbide with 90% enriched B-10
Control rod type Buoyancy driven at the periphery
Number of control rods In function of core layout, 6
Safety rod type Gravity driven assisted by forced injection
Number of safety rods In function of core layout, 3

Table 2.4 Absorber reactivity coefficients [2.3]

Dk eff Dk eff / T
Component Material Elementary Perturbation Variation keff
( pcm ) [pcm K-1]
Density reduction -10% 1.01401 65
CR B4 C -0.030
Height increase toward fissile zone +1.5 cm 1.01146 -190
Density reduction -10% 1.01345 9
SR B4 C -0.005
Height increase toward fissile zone +6 cm 1.01180 -156

2.2 Vessel and diaphragm

In order to house all the primary system components, the vessel dimensions are quite
huge (around 10 m in diameter and 13 m of length). The thickness of the vessel itself,
11 cm, is instead lower than in a normal LWR even with such larger dimensions. In
fact the LBE is not pressurized and the 10 bar pressure at the bottom of the core is
only due to hydrostatic pressure. This is a positive aspect for what concerns the

17
safety issues in HLMFR. The material of the vessel is AISI316L for a total weight of
~340 tons. Table 2.5 summarizes the main reactor vessel and diaphragm parameters.

Figure 2.4: Vessel cutaway view

The diaphragm structure, which separates the cold, high pressure LBE from the hot,
low pressure LBE, is connected, together with the cover, to the reactor vessel. The
diaphragm consists of two horizontal plates in AISI316L connected to each other with
vertical shells and tubes. In-between the two horizontal plates are housed part of the
pumps, the heat e changers and the In- essel Fuel Storages (I FSs where the spent
fuel is stored for a period of 420 days in order for the decay heat to reduce. The
IVFSs are cooled during operation mainly by the forced circulation of LBE imposed by
the pumps, while during shutdown, cooling is ensured by natural circulation.

Figure 2.5: Diaphragm cutaway view


18
Table 2.5 - Main MYRRHA reactor vessel and diaphragm parameters

Parameter Unit Value


Reactor vessel internal diameter mm 10200
Reactor vessel thickness mm 110
Diaphragm internal diameter mm 9900
Diaphragm thickness mm 80
Reactor vessel height mm 13035
Core inlet level mm 4900
Fuel active length level mm 5225
NOC1 Hot LBE level mm 9500
NOC Cold LBE level mm 12000

The reactor is located in the reactor pit which features a steel liner able to serve as
secondary containment in case of a reactor vessel leakage or break. The reactor cover
closes the reactor vessel and supports all the components (due to the buoyancy force
which pushes upwards all the vessel internals).
The Primary Cover Gas and Ventilation System (PCGVS) is also implemented in
the reactor design for the continuous filtering and monitoring of the cover gas
environment in the upper part of the reactor above the LBE free surface.

2.3 Primary cooling system

In normal operation, at 100 MWth core power, the cold LBE (270 C) at high pressure
(~10 bar) flows through the core channels installed in the core barrel. The LBE
flowing through the 108 active fuel assemblies, with a core flow rate of ~7710 kg/s,
heats up to an average temperature of 360 C.
The remaining LBE (about 6090 kg/s) flows through the reflector channels and
other bypasses. The pressure drop over the core amounts to ~2.5 bar. Both LBE mass
flow rates (core and bypass) will mix in the hot plenum.
An additional conservative power of 10 MW is considered due to additional heat
sources such as the polonium decay, the heat dissipation of the PPs, the heat
production in the in-vessel fuel storage, the -heating and the spallation target2.
Accounting for all the core power inputs, the temperature of the hot plenum will
reach 325 C.
The temperature difference of 55 C between the hot plenum and the cold
plenum is below the maximal gradient allowed on the diaphragm to limit the thermal
stresses on the component (80 C).

1
Normal Operation Condition.
2
The latter only with the reactor operating in sub-critical mode
19
Because of the lower pressure in the PP boxes, the LBE is aspired through the
PHXs. The LBE enters the PHXs at 325 C and exits at 270 C, exchanging 27.5 MW per
unit.
Then the cold LBE flows into the PP which evacuates the LBE to the cold
plenum. The maximal pressure drop from the inlet of the PHXs to the inlet of the
pump is estimated at 0.5 bar. Consequently, the pumps have to deliver ~3 bar.

Table 2.6 General thermal hydraulics parameters for MYRRHA 1.6 reactor design

Power
Maximum core power 100 MWth
Maximum reactor power 110 MWth
Temperatures
Cold shutdown state 200 C
Maximum core inlet temperature 270 C
Ma imum core T (average channel 90 C
Average core outlet temperature 360 C
Maximum hot plenum temperature 325 C

2.3.1 Primary Heat eXchangers

The main thermal connection between the primary and the secondary system is
provided by the Primary Heat Exchanger (PHX).
LBE from the hot plenum (~325 C) enters one of the four PHXs from the inlet
openings in the external shroud. The flow is then directed downwards, through the
tube bundle, where the actual heat transfer takes place.
Outlet openings, directing the LBE flow towards the Primary Pumps, provides
the exit path for the cold (~270 C) LBE.
On the secondary side, water at a pressure of 16 bar at nearly saturated
conditions (~200 C) flows down the central down-comer pipe into the PHX bottom
head and then upwards through the tube bundles where it is heated by the counter-
current flowing LBE, thus producing a water steam mixture with a final quality of
~0.3.
A summary of the main geometrical and thermal-hydraulical PHX parameters is
shown in Tables 2.7 and 2.8.
As shown in Figure 2.6, the tube bundle is extended from the bottom tube plate
to the top tube plate, as normal for shell-and-tube HXs. But, in MYRRHA design, the
LBE inlet is placed at ~ 2.35 m from the bottom plate, instead of being located at top
of the component (~11 m).
This configuration defines an "active length" for the tube bundle of ~2.1 m,
where the LBE flow actually takes place.

20
Table 2.7 MYRRHA PHX main geometrical parameters

Parameter Unit Value


Power in one PHX MW 27.5
Shroud external diameter mm 850
Shroud internal diameter mm 820
Feed water pipe external diameter mm 200
Water tubes number - 684
Water tubes pitch mm 26
Water tubes external diameter mm 16
Water tubes internal diameter mm 14
Thickness of water tubes mm 1
Total length of water tubes mm 10920
Active length of water tubes mm 2100

Table 2.8 - MYRRHA PHX main thermal - hydraulics parameters

Parameter Unit Value


PHX LBE inlet temperature C 325
PHX LBE outlet temperature C 270
LBE safe shutdown temperature C 200
PHX LBE mass flow rate kg/s 3450
PHX water inlet temperature C 200
PHX water outlet temperature C 201.4
PHX water mass flow rate kg/s 47
PHX water pressure bar 16
PHX water outlet quality - 0.3
PHX water outlet void fraction - 0.9
LBE velocity m/s 0.93
Water outlet velocity m/s 3.3
Steam outlet velocity m/s 18.63
k at tube bundle inlet - 120

21
Figure 2.6: MYRRHA PHX design overview

2.3.2 Primary Pumps

In the following tables (2.9 and 2.10) the MYRRHA Primary Pumps (PPs) main
geometrical and functional data are provided.

Table 2.9: MYRRHA pump main design data

MYRRHA pump main geometrical data for simulation codes


Rated pump velocity R 185.6 rpm = 19.436 rad/s
Rated flow QR 0.65839 m3/s
Rated head given by the rotor HR 2.98 m
Rated torque R 10379 Nm
Constant friction torque coefficient Fr0 ~100 Nm
Constant friction torque coefficient Fr2 ~100 Nm
Moment of inertia (pump + motor) Ipn 2600 kg m2
Rated density R (at 270 C) 10480 kg/m3
Rated Efficiency based on the Torque R 0.8753
Rated Hydraulic efficiency Hyd-R 0.4957
Coast down time 26.4 s
22
Table 2.10: MYRRHA pump head loss coefficients and flow area data

MYRRHA pump pressure loss coefficients and flow area data


Global kforward at 0 rpm 481
Global kreverse at 0 rpm 307
kinlet 0.5
koutlet 1.0
Inlet area 1.649 m2
Flow area at impeller 0.597 m2
Outlet area 0.597 m2
Length of volume ~1.60 m
Inlet hydraulic diameter 0.518 m
Outlet hydraulic diameter 1.113 m

The complete set of characteristic curves defines, for a wide range of rotational
velocities, the pump head and the pump torque in function of the mass flow rate [2.4].

2.4 Secondary and tertiary cooling systems

The Secondary Cooling System (SCS) has been developed as four parallel loops
wor ing independently, each one connected with one P , so the ma imum power
e tracted by each loop in nominal conditions is 27.5 MWth. The main operational
parameters for each SCS loop are enlisted in table 2.11.
The SCS design foresees four different water/steam two-phase loops operating in
forced circulation [2.5]:
Water enters into the heat exchanger, the coolant flow is maintained constant in
nominal conditions, and leaves it as a water/steam mixture (quality ~0.3 for
maximum reactor power)
This two-phase fluid is then separated in a steam drum
Steam flow is directed to the air cooled condensers
Condensed water returns to the drum

Table 2.11 Main design requirements for one single secondary system loop

Power Maximum 27.5 MWth


Pressure Operation 16 bar
Temperature Operation 200 C
PHX outlet steam quality Forced circulation: 0.3 (max. reactor power)
PHX mass flow Forced circulation: 47.05 kg/s
Steam mass flow Natural circulation: 14 kg/s

23
Figure 2.7 - Secondary and tertiary cooling systems schematics of one single loop.

The secondary cooling pumps introduce the water into the heat exchangers with a
design head of 2.15 bar.
The steam drum is the component where water/steam mixture is separated,
water flows back to the P s and steam is sent to air cooled condensers.
The steam drum has been dimensioned as follows (Table 2.12):
Table 2.12: Steam drum design requirements

Liquid water mass (normal level) 14115 kg


Drum volume 32.62 m3
Drum length 8.73 m
Drum diameter 2.2 m
Operating pressure 15 bar

The steam produced is directed through natural circulation towards the aero-
condensers, where it is condensed and the heat is released to the atmosphere.
A series of fans guarantees the forced circulation of the air, tuning the heat
transfer coefficient through the change of velocity according to the conditions of both
plant and environment.
In particular, as it will better explained in chapter 3, the air mass flow, directly
connected to the fan speed, is the parameter that controls the secondary pressure
constancy.
The very preliminary design of this component foresees a counter-current
vertical flow (condensing water flowing downwards in tubes). Each condenser unit is
divided in 8 banks. The design data are summarized in following table 2.13.

24
Table 2.13 Condenser design requirements

n tubes per bank 230


n banks 8
Tube internal
2 cm
diameter
Tube length 8m
Tube thickness 1.46 m

The Tertiary Cooling System (TCS) design is still flexible to change according to the
design revision of the plant, in particular of the condenser itself.
A preliminary design for the TCS requires an air mass flow rate of 410 kg/s in
nominal conditions.
The condensed steam is then collected in a condensate tank where the
condensate water is stored: if the water level of the drum decreases, the system will
direct water from the condensate tank to fill the drum until its normal level. In
nominal conditions, the condensed water, flows in the bottom part of the drum, mixes
with the liquid phase separated before and goes back to the PHX through the
secondary pump.
Table 2.14 Condensate tank design requirements

Liquid water mass 4230 kg


Tank volume 9.78 m3
Tank length 5.84 m
Tank diameter 1.46 m

2.5 Decay Heat Removal systems

MYRRHA SCS serves also as Decay Heat Removal 1 (DHR1) in case of accidental event.
In such events, the SCS must be able to fulfill the DHR function operating in natural
circulation (passive mode), while the active cooling is not available anymore.
The DHR2 function is performed by a tank filled with liquid water lying above
the reactor vessel, isolated through a set of valves which opens in accidental
conditions and floods the reactor pit, thus cooling the external vessel wall. The DHR
function is then performed by pool boiling and natural circulation of steam towards a
condenser. Figure 2.8 represents DHR2 configuration in MYRRHA design revision 1.6
[2.1].

25
Pressure relief line
towards reactor hall

Silicon
doping pool

Refilling line

Liquid water level

~50 m
~15 m
LBE

Figure 2.8: DHR2 configuration

26
3 MYRRHA Control strategy

As a preliminary reactor control strategy developed for the MYRRHA plant, two main
control systems are foreseen:

- Reactivity control through the control rod system


- Secondary pressure control through the air fan velocity control

The power control through the movement of the control rods guarantees that the
reactor power follows the set point value. The control rod system has both the
functions of controller, to maintain zero reactivity balance during operational
conditions, and of servomechanism, when changing the power set point, e. g. for the
start-up from zero to full power operation mode.
The secondary pressure control guarantees the constancy of steam pressure
which has to follow the steady state set-point value of ~15 bar. The pressure of the
water side is the highest in the system: limiting this pressure assures a safety margin
for what concerns tube rupture failures and high pressures in maintenance or low
power conditions [3.1].
It is important to point out that as MYRRHA will be an irradiation facility, it will
not produce any electrical power; therefore no turbine group will be coupled with the
nuclear installation and, from the point of view of plant control, this represents a
considerable simplification. Frequency - power control with respect to the electrical
network user is not in this case a constraint. This leads to a simplified plant control
design [3.2].
In the following paragraphs, a brief introduction about the general feed-back
control loop and the Proportional Integral Derivative (PID) controller will be given;
secondly, the description of the two control systems is performed.

3.1 PID controllers

In general, the objective of control is to obtain a system output parameter, as close as


possible to its desired set point value. This can be done through two main logics: feed-
forward or feed-back. While the first one acts directly on the input signal in order to
obtain the required output, the second one is based on the error between the set
point value and the output of the system: the error enters the controller which
attempts to minimize it by adjusting the process through the use of a manipulated
variable (output or control variable) (see Figure 3.1).

Figure 3.1: Feedback control loop


27
The PID controller algorithm involves three separate parameters referred as "gain
constants": the proportional (P), the integral (I) and the derivative (D) constants.
These values can be interpreted in terms of time: P depends on the present error, I on
the accumulation of past errors and D is a prediction of future errors based on
current rate of change. The weighted sum, through the gain constants, of these actions
is used to adjust the process via a control loop (see Figure 3.2).

Figure 3.2: PID controller [3.3]

- The proportional term produces an output value that is proportional to the


current error value. The proportional response can be adjusted by multiplying
the error by a constant Kp called the proportional gain constant. A high
proportional gain results in a large change in the output for a given change in
the error. If the proportional gain is too high, the system can show permanent
oscillations around the set point value. In contrast, a small gain results in a small
output response to a large input error, and a less responsive or less sensitive
controller. If the proportional gain is too low, the control action may be too
limited when responding to system disturbances. Because a non-zero error is
required to drive it, a proportional controller generally operates with a steady
state error.

- The contribution from the integral term is proportional to both the magnitude
of the error and the duration of the error. The integral in a PID controller is the
sum of the instantaneous error over time and gives the accumulated effect that
should have been corrected previously. The accumulated error is then
multiplied by the integral gain and added to the controller output. The integral
term accelerates the movement of the process towards set-point and eliminates
the residual steady-state error that occurs with a pure proportional controller.
However, since the integral term responds to accumulated errors from the past,
it can cause the present value to overshoot the set-point value.

- The derivative of the process error is calculated by determining the slope of the
error over time and multiplying this rate of change by the derivative gain. The
28
magnitude of the contribution of the derivative term to the overall control
action is determined by the derivative gain. The derivative action predicts
system behavior and thus improves settling time and stability of the system. The
implementation of PID controllers includes an additional low pass filtering for
the derivative term, to limit the high frequency gain and noise. Derivative action
is seldom used in practice though because of its variable impact on system
stability.

Tuning a control loop consists in the adjustment of its control parameters to the
optimum values for the desired control response.
PID design and tuning is not an easy task because usually multiple and often
conflicting objectives such as short transient and high stability are to be achieved.
Nowadays PID tuning and loop optimization software are used to ensure consistent
results. These software packages will gather the data, develop process models, and
suggest optimal tuning.
Mathematical PID loop tuning induces an impulse in the system, and then uses
the controlled system's frequency response to design the PID loop values.
One of these software, namely PidTuner MATLAB toolbox [3.4], has been used for the
analysis on secondary pressure PI controller (see below).

3.2 Power control system

The power control in critical mode is performed through the movement of the control
rods. In particular, the power error is defined as the difference between the set point
value and the measured value.
This error is related to the control rod velocity: a positive velocity means an
insertion of the control rod, which happens in case of negative power errors (sensed
variable higher than the set point value). Vice versa, a negative velocity represents an
extraction of the control rod, needed in case of positive power errors.
This velocity is related to the actual position of the control rod through the
relation

where shim speed is referred to the fact that the rod moves in regulation mode (in
comparison with scram speed).
The position is calculated iteratively at each time step at which the power error
is updated. The initial position is evaluated at the initial steady state conditions (null
reactivity), when the rod is partially inserted. This partial insertion required to have
the initial zero reactivity, is related to the hypotheses of Beginning of Cycle (BoC)
conditions, i. e. absence of fuel burn-up, and of hot zero power conditions, i. e. a
condition in which the weight of intrinsic feedbacks is weaker due to the 200 C
average temperature.

29
The rod position is related to the reactivity inserted through the control rod worth
curve, given by design (see figure 3.3).

1.03

1.02
CR worth
1.01

0.99

0.98

0.97

0.96

0.95

0.94

0.93
keff vs. CR insertion (cm)
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
CR insertion [cm] 0 1.5 14 22 34 42 50 56 64 66.5 68
Dkeff (pcm) -88 -1397 -2653 -4943 -6502 -7835 -8553 -9078 -9114 -9112

Figure 3.3: Control rod worth curve [3.5]

The power controller can be considered a physical PI regulator, in fact the relation
that stands between the input and the output variables is of integral type, namely,
from velocity to position variables.

Figures 3.4 and 3.5 illustrate the power control logic followed during the analysis.

Figure 3.4: Reactivity control logic

Figure 3.5: Feed-back control loop for the power control system

30
3.3 Secondary pressure control

The secondary pressure control is performed through the tertiary air fan movement,
which changes its flow rate according to the pressure error. In particular, the
pressure error is defined as the difference between the set point value of pressure
and the pressure measured in the secondary loop (for each loop the steam pressure is
measured in the steam line).
The integral action needed to have a null pressure error at regime conditions, is
given through a PI controller.
The proportional and integral gain constants of the controller have been
calculated through the use of MATLAB PidTuner MATLAB R2014b toolbox [3.4].
PidTuner is capable to extrapolate the behavior of the system from imported input-
output data, finding its transfer function and designing its optimal controller. In order
to do this, a step to the fan flow rate was given as input in the RELAP5-3D calculation
and the secondary pressure output variation was recorded. The air flow rate and the
secondary pressure data as a function of time have been then imported into the
MATLAB environment.
Some flexibility is given through the choice of the controller type (P, PI, PID), the
number of poles, possible delays. From the results it was seen that the optimal choice
was a PI controller with three real poles. This is related to the energy sink and
sources of the system, e. g. the volumes with huge thermal inertia that can be
represented as different transfer function in series (namely, the lower plenum, the
upper plenum and the water loop).
The output of the PI controller has been lagged for 300 seconds, in order to take
into consideration the fan inertia, i. e. a delay of response to the system. This inertia
can be both a positive and negative aspect, according to the situation analyzed: if the
system has rapidly to follow pressure variations, an high inertia is clearly a negative
aspect; considering instead safety issues, a high inertia is seen as a benefit during
particular transients in which the power removal from the secondary system is
needed (e. g., for the decay heat removal).

Figure 3.6: Feed-back control loop for the secondary pressure control system

Figure 3.6 illustrates the control logic adopted for the secondary pressure control.

31
3.4 Future developments for the MYRRHA control strategy

The preliminary control strategy analyzed during this study does not consider any
primary temperature control. A primary temperature control may be anyway
required in order to avoid temperature errors; in particular, one main issue for heavy
liquid metal coolants is related to the minimum temperature limitation to avoid the
solidification of the coolant itself. This temperature is ~123 C for LBE coolant, and
the safety margin requires a minimum temperature of 200 C.
The secondary side of the system is constituted by water at saturation
conditions: a pressure control is translated in a temperature control. This means that
the heat transfer from the primary system to the secondary cooling loops is
controlled by the water side (considering almost constant the heat transfer coefficient
in the two-phase operating range). In that sense there is no possibility to control the
average primary temperature of the LBE in the PHX. In fact, the dynamics of the
system needs a degree of freedom to evolve, which in this case is represented by the
LBE heat transfer properties.
Fixing the secondary temperature, the LBE primary temperatures are changing
according to the power level, as shown in figure 3.7.

Reactor control strategy


400 Average core outlet
temperature
350
Secondary system
Temperature [C]

300 water temperature

250

200

150

100
0 20 40 60 80 100
Power [%]

Figure 3.7: Primary temperatures change as a function of the power level

A power control only assures a power error equal to zero, but the required power
level may not correspond to the desired temperature level. The relationship between
power and temperature is of integral type, because the temperature is directly related
to the internal energy stored in the system (this is true for a single phase system as
the LBE primary side is).

32
The primary temperature control may refer or to the hot plenum temperature (inlet
of PHX) or to the cold plenum one (exit of PHX).
Controlling the LBE PHX exit temperature means having a control over the
minimum primary system temperature, the nearest to the 200 C limit, therefore it
assures the respect of the safety margin.
Anyway, also the temperature at the inlet of the PHX can be controlled; in fact, it
is related to the minimum temperature by the temperature difference across the PHX
(~55C in normal operating conditions), controlled by the secondary side heat
transfer conditions.
This control over one of the two temperatures may be coupled to the power
control, for example sending a temperature error coupled3 with the power error to
define the control rod velocity.
Some considerations about the absence of a primary temperature control in the
preliminary study performed are presented below:

- In the case of MYRRHA, the high thermal inertia of the primary LBE pool is
playing an important role in dumping temperature errors. Qualitatively
speaking, this can be explained through the time constants of the system: power
variations are much faster than the internal energy variations due to the
thermal inertia, i. e. the delay, of the system.
- The temperature control can be considered as related to a protection system
that plays a role only when temperature errors exceed the established margins.
- As already mentioned, the relation between power and temperature is of
integral type. The power control logic already foresees an integral action
through the physical relation between the velocity and the position of the
control rod [3.6].
- The absence of a power-frequency control contributes to narrow the range of
temperature variations situations. The temperature set point has not to be
related to the electrical grid requirements.

These observations are confirmed by the results of the RELAP5 3D calculations


illustrated in chapter 5. Among all the transients analyzed, the primary temperature
limits are always respected even without a primary temperature control system.

3
It can be thought as a weighted sum over the two errors
33
4 MYRRHA MATLAB - Simulink model

In this chapter, the developed mathematical model of MYRRHA in MATLAB


Simulink [4.1] environment will be described.
Simulink is a graphical block diagramming tool, which allows an intuitive and
modular representation of the reactor components [4.1]. A distinct advantage of
using Simulink programming language for modeling a complex plant such as
MYRRHA is found in the availability of control system design packages. This allows a
very easy and visible control system implementation, with respect to the more
complicated RELAP5 solutions.
The analytical model is composed of different subsystems describing the core
dynamics (i. e., neutronics, thermal hydraulics and reactivity), and dedicated blocks
representing the PHX, SD and condenser. In the following, each block with the
respective equations implemented has been briefly described.
Figure 4.1 represents the simplified plant model adopted for MYRRHA Simulink
description. As can be seen, both the secondary and tertiary cooling loops are here
collapsed into two single loops.

Figure 4.1 - MYRRHA Simulink model

A brief overview is given to illustrate how the different coolant flow paths are
organized.
34
In the primary cooling system, almost half (7710 of the total 13800 kg/s) of the LBE
coolant passes through the reactor core and heats up, while the other half flows along
the bypass channel with a small increase of the average temperature (10 MW
exchanged vs. 100 MW in the core). The two flows mix together in the hot plenum.
Next, the coolant enters the PHX, where heat is transferred towards the secondary
cooling system. Once cold again, the LBE enters the cold plenum closing the primary
loop. Concerning the secondary water flow, the fluid enters from the bottom of the
PHX in slightly subcooled conditions and exchanges almost 55 C in terms of enthalpy
jump. In normal operation the water exits the PHX with 0.3 flow quality. This two-
phase flow is directed to the steam drum component where the steam is separated
from the liquid. The steam is directed through the steam line to the aerocondenser
where it exits in saturated liquid conditions and then comes back to the SD trough the
feedwater line. The liquid part of the two-phase mixture mixes together with the
feedwater and enters again the PHX. The air side exchanges 110 MW in normal
operation, with an increase of 70 C for the air.

4.1 Neutronics

Point neutron kinetics model with six delayed neutron precursor groups has been
employed for the core neutronics, in which the total power is considered as generated
only by fission events while the contribution of decay heat being neglected [4.2].

Table 4.1 shows the delayed neutron constants, namely, the delayed neutron fraction
and the delayed neutron decay constant, for MYRRHA reactor design.

Table 4.1 - Delayed neutron constants

Delayed neutron constants


GROUP [/] [s-1]
1 0.0246 0.0129
2 0.2086 0.0313
3 0.1871 0.1346
4 0.362 0.3443
5 0.1657 1.3764
6 0.052 3.7425

For sufficiently long irradiation times at a constant power level, the heat produced in
the core can be attributed to prompt and delayed fissions. The effects of actinide
decay only come into play when a transient in the power level occurs, where it
introduces a small time delay between the power output and the neutron flux: the
error made neglecting the contribution of decay heat is in the order of few percents.

35
The system equations 4.1 represents 7 ODEs, i. e., one nonlinear equation for neutron
density and six linear ones for precursor densities. In the present model, a further
simplified version has been adopted, in which all the precursor groups have been
collapsed into a unique one by means of an abundance-weighted average decay
constant [4.2].

4.2 Core thermal - hydraulics

A zero-dimensional approach has been adopted to describe the system thermal


hydraulics as well. Some simplifying hypotheses have been assumed and a single
node (for each material) heat transfer model has been implemented by accounting for
four distinct temperature regions corresponding to fuel, gap, cladding and coolant
enabling the reactivity feedbacks to include all the major contributions as well as the
margin against technological and safety limits to be monitored. A steady-state
temperature distribution model, based on the evaluation of the successive thermal
resistances, has been employed to evaluate the global heat transfer coefficients from
the fuel centerline to the coolant bulk, on the basis of thermal inertia (table 4.2) of the
single zones.

Table 4.2 - Thermal inertia data for the primary system nodes

Heat capacity Thermal inertia


Node Mass [kg]
[J/(kgK)] [J/K]

FUEL 2119 323.4 685348

CLAD 608 554.2 336954

LBE CORE 25000 145.4 3635000

LBE BYPASS 30000 145.4 4362000

LBE COLD
4500000 145.4 654300000
PLENUM

LBE HOT
1100000 145.4 159940000
PLENUM

36
Table 4.2 gives a quantitative demonstration of the acceptability of a heat conduction
steady state approach in which the fuel, gap and cladding are supposed "non
accumulating" or better, quite fast in the transport of heat, with respect to the LBE
coolant flowing through the core.

The thermal resistances between fuel and coolant can be easily defined in cylindrical
geometry (the data refer to the fuel pin dimensions) as:

Where is the thermal conductivity of the MOX fuel taken as a constant as a first
approximation.

Where the heat transfer coefficient is defined as

treating the heat transfer across the gap as a convective condition.

is the resistance across the cladding material where the radii are referred to the pin
dimensions (see chapter 2).

is the convective heat transfer between the fuel clad and the LBE in the core. The heat
transfer coefficient of the primary coolant in the core is related to the Nusselt number
as follows:

Where the Nusselt number for LBE has been performed through Ushakov correlation
for liquid metal heat transfer [4.3]:

37
The fission power generated within the fuel is calculated according to the following
equation, in which the subscript 0 refers to steady-state values, and is treated as an
input for the heat transfer dynamic model:

The linear power is defined as the total power per unit length. The total length is
calculated as the active pin height times the total number of pins:

Given the linear power and the maximum temperature of the fuel (at the center of the
pin), it is possible to calculate the radial temperature trend from the centerline to the
bulk of LBE, known the heat transfer properties of the materials in between, i. e. the
thermal resistances defined above.

In particular, the clad outlet temperature is given by the following relation:

The bulk LBE temperature is analogously calculated:

The physical properties of the fuel, gap and cladding have been assumed to be
constant with temperature as a first approximation. In particular, calculations of
material properties have been performed in correspondence with the average
nominal steady-state temperatures. The thermal conduction in the axial direction
within the fuel pin has been neglected [4.2].

4.3 Reactivity feedbacks

Consistently with the lumped-parameter model employed, the reactivity feedbacks


have been expressed as functions of the average values of the fuel and coolant
temperature fields. Moreover, externally induced reactivity has been simulated
through a dedicated coefficient associated with the insertion length of a
representative control rod, which has been treated as a simple input parameter.
Reactivity effects by coolant density variations, axial expansion, and control rod
motion have been accounted for by adopting a linear equation with constant
coefficients. In particular, axial expansion has been related to the fuel thermal
conditions, whereas the coolant density feedback has been considered as governed by
the average core coolant temperature. As far as the Doppler coefficient determination
is concerned, an effective average fuel temperature that accounts for resonances
broadening has been calculated [4.2].
38
In this work, a linear relation for axial core expansions and coolant density reactivity
effects has been adopted, leading to the following expression with constant reactivity
coefficients:

Where steady state average temperatures have been calculated in correspondence


with the power level considered. The terms in the equation above indicate the
reactivity margin stored in the core ( , the feedbacks induced by fuel temperature
changes (i. e., Doppler effect through the Doppler coefficient that has a logarithmic
dependence on the fuel temperature, and axial expansion though the respectively),
the effect due to the coolant temperature variations (expansion through the
coefficient ) and the last term is the control rod induced reactivity ( . The
temperature subscript 0 refers to the hot zero power conditions (200 C) in which the
coefficient have been calculated [4.7]. Table 4.3 gives the values of the feedback
coefficients used in the calculation.

Table 4.3 Reactivity coefficients for MYRRHA fuel and LBE [4.4]

Material (fissile zone) FUEL LBE


Temperature [C] 1000 315
Effect Doppler Axial exp. Expansion
Feedback [pcm] 482 328 67
Coefficient [pcm/K] -0.410 -0.583

The neutronics equations implemented required a numerical solution model different


from the ode45 used for thermal balances (following paragraph). The option ode23s
or ode15s [4.1] were adopted to cope with such stiff problem. A stiff equation is a
differential equation for which certain numerical methods for solving the equation
are unstable, unless the step size is taken to be extremely small [4.5]. The main
reason is that the equation includes some terms that can lead to rapid variation in the
solution. The system of ODEs is described as a stiff system when the variables change
according to very different time scales, in this particular case the neutronic and the
thermal hydraulics time constants. Both ode45 and ode15s/23s are variable time
steps method in which the time step varies according to the accuracy required by the
solution.

4.4 Primary circuit thermal - hydraulics

For the energy balance equation within the coolant, the respective temperature at the
end of the channel has been assumed as a state variable. The thermal inertias
expressed in the equations are given in table 4.2. Since the coolant inlet temperature
has been considered as a fixed input, the energy balance is:

39
Where the average fluid temperature and the core outlet temperature can be related
together through the relation

which means assuming a temperature trend symmetric with respect to the center of
the channel. This same approach was applied for the other thermal balances.
The by-pass loop thermal balance is

The hot plenum thermal balance is

The cold plenum thermal balance is expressed as:

And the primary Heat Exchanger energy balance is written as follows:

Figure 4.2 shows the MYRRHA primary system Simulink model with the equations
implemented.

40
Figure 4.2: MYRRHA primary system Simulink model

In this primary system model, though very simplified, the control rod reactivity
system described in Chapter 3 is implemented.

The term in the PHX LBE thermal balance represents the thermal power
exchanged from the primary to the secondary side. In this model the thermal power is
simulated as the heat transferred by the LBE in the PHX, which is the same thermal
power received by the secondary water, assuming steady state conditions (or
neglecting the thermal inertia of the PHX tube bundle). In fact, at regime this power
dissipated by the primary side is received by the secondary side and equals the one
crossing the tube walls between the primary and secondary fluids:

- ) is the power transferred by the LBE


over the heat exchanger.

- is the thermal
power exchanged by the two phase water coolant (initially single phase)

- is the thermal power across the wall,


taking into consideration the heat transfer coefficients of the two fluids.

The global heat transfer coefficients are defined as

41
Where the total length of the exchanger is a fixed value respect to the variable
non boiling length . The thermal resistances are analogously defined as above
(where now the dimensions refer to the heat exchanger tubes).

The Logarithmic Mean Temperature Difference (LMTD) is a logarithmic average of


the temperature difference between the hot and cold streams at each end of the heat
exchanger. The use of the LMTD arises from the analysis of a heat exchanger with
constant flow rate and fluid thermal properties [4.6]. In the case of the heat exchanger
into consideration, they are evaluated as follows:

Where the subscripts 1 and 2 refer respectively to the hot and cold temperature
differences between primary and secondary fluids, the subscripts B and NB mean
Boiling or Not Boiling zones.
These formulas are valid in the MYRRHA PHX steady state operational
conditions where the liquid water enters with 1.5 degree of subcooling and exits with
~0.3 flow quality. In transient accidental conditions, at least in principle, it is possible
that the water enters in already saturated conditions and/or exits as overheated
steam (or even the secondary side full of single phase liquid or steam). This is a first
reason why a dynamic approach to consider the heat transferred between two fluids
is not an easy task.

This complex phenomenon of heat transfer is even more troublesome if two phase
flow is taken in consideration. Flow regimes and heat transfer regimes are strongly
nonlinear phenomena that still today are not fully understood. System code and even
the more accurate multi-phase computational fluid dynamics codes represent the
current state of the art for two-phase heat transfer simulation.

42
4.5 Heat transfer components

As explained above, the computation of the thermal power exchanged between two
non mixing fluids (the primary and secondary fluids for PHX and secondary and
tertiary fluids for the condenser) is not predictable in a simple lumped parameter
approach.

So other approaches may be used:

- Moving boundary approach: this model can take into account the occurrence of
a phase transition within the HX tubes. In the moving boundary model, the tube
is axially subdivided into zones according to the phase present: a subcooled
zone, a two-phase zone and a superheated zone. The virtue of a moving
boundary model lies in the fact that it is capable to account for the difference in
heat transfer efficiency between the different fluid states, e. g. due to bubble
formation in the two phase region, heat transfer can be up to ten times higher
when compared to the one phase region. Therefore, movement in the interface
between both phases will cause changes in the overall heat transfer efficiency
along the tube length [4.7].
Considering for example only a subcooled and a saturated zone, the energy
balance equations are applied to each of the six regions, e. g. the primary LBE
coolant, the wall and the secondary water coolant for each water phase. The
water side additionally requires mass balance equations due to the occurrence
of a phase transition. Pressure drops, or momentum balance equations in
general, are also required in order to consider the pressure variation along the
channel.
The control volume over which the thermal balance is applied is varying
according to the variation of its length. This is the reason why the derivative
over time of this length appears in the equations and its trend over time
becomes an additional unknown.
An improvement of this simple model is the so called "switched moving
boundary" [4.8], in which it is possible to cope with cases in which one or two of
the phases present disappears, avoiding a singularity in the equations.

- Finite volumes approach: in this approach, i. e., the one commonly used by
system codes, the component is subdivided into several volumes over which
apply the balances; it does not take into consideration the variation of volume
lengths but it is more accurate because of the reduced dimensions over which
the balance is applied.

- Alternative approach using transfer functions: in this approach, which is


described below, the transfer function of the component is calculated by input-
output data coming from code calculations.

43
4.5.1 Transfer functions from RELAP5 - 3D data

A more detailed evaluation of the heat exchanger behavior was done by studying the
transfer functions for PHX and condenser Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO)
components.
For what concerns the definition of transfer function and MIMO systems, control
theory gives the bases to understand these problems [4.9]. Here only few hints are
given in order to explain the approach followed.
For the evaluation of the response (output) of a linear dynamic system
subjected to given inputs, two main approaches can be followed [4.9]:

- Time domain solution consisting in solving (integrating) the differential


equation
- Frequency domain solution in which a function, called transfer function of the
input signal, is associated to a time varying input signal. In the frequency
domain this represents the output of the system which can be anti-transformed
back to the time domain evolution. The benefit in following this second
approach is due to the algebraic and non differential relationship between input
and output signals.

In order to use transfer functions, the equations describing the system must be solved
in the frequency domain.
Simulink environment already works in the frequency domain and gives back
time functions. This means that the difficult part of the problem, mainly the anti-
transformation from frequency to time domain, is performed directly by the program
[4.1].
Providing Simulink with the component transfer function in the frequency
domain and the desired input in the time domain is enough to obtain, as an output,
the dynamic response of the system in the time domain (i. e. the output in the time
domain).
The calculation of the transfer functions for heat transfer components was
performed indirectly from transient RELAP5-3D calculations, from which the
transient behavior of the PHX and condenser has been extrapolated.
In particular, each of the two components is isolated from the rest of the loop
through specific boundary conditions (expressed in RELAP5 - 3D as "time dependent
volumes", for pressure and temperature/internal energy/quality, and "time
dependent junctions", for mass flow rates); this means that the boundary conditions
are imposed by the user and not determined by the loop dynamic evolution. In that
way the heat exchanger component is the only element affecting the dynamics.
The component model used in this calculation for PHX is the same one
described in the RELAP5-3D model (see chapter 5) but adapted to exchange the full
thermal power instead of 25%. This has been done in order to have single secondary

44
and tertiary sides cooling system. The two time dependent volumes and two time
dependent junctions give the inlet boundary conditions for both fluids.
1) For PHX transfer function

LBE time dependent volume

- Temperature inlet LBE (325 C)


- Pressure inlet LBE (5 bar)
LBE time dependent junction

- Mass flow rate LBE (13800 kg/s)


Water time dependent volume

- Temperature inlet water (200 C)


- Pressure inlet water (16 bar)
Water time dependent junction

- Mass flow rate water (188 kg/s)


Six calculations were performed in which each one has a step variation of only one
input parameter. The respective output parameters (steady state values) to follow the
dynamics of the system are:

LBE side

- Temperature outlet LBE (270 C)


- Pressure outlet LBE (5 bar)
- Mass flow rate LBE (13800 kg/s)
Water side

- Temperature outlet water (201.4 C)


- Pressure outlet water (16 bar)
- Mass flow rate water (188 kg/s)
This analogous approach was followed for the condenser with the only difference that
the boundary conditions for tertiary side are specified as gas.

Water time dependent volume

- Temperature inlet water (198 C)


- Pressure inlet water (14.5 bar)
Water time dependent junction

- Mass flow rate water (56 kg/s)


Air time dependent volume

- Temperature inlet air (32C)


- Pressure inlet air (1 bar)
Air time dependent junction
45
- Mass flow rate air (410 kg/s)
Output parameters

Water side

- Temperature outlet water (270 C)


- Pressure outlet water (5 bar)
- Mass flow rate water (56 kg/s)
Air side

- Temperature outlet air (100 C)


- Pressure outlet air (1 bar)
- Mass flow rate air (410 kg/s)

The output parameters are evaluated using superposition of effects of the relative
inputs multiplied by the respective transfer function . is by definition
calculated as output over input variables for an arbitrary input (usually a step
function). The differential equation that governs the dynamics of the system for zero
initial conditions (free evolution) is transposed in the frequency domain [4.9] and the
ratio is performed.

As one can foresee, some of the input parameters do not play an important role on the
dynamic behavior of the system, e. g. the pressure of LBE (not sensibly changing in
the range of operational condition on the system), the mass flow rate of LBE (by
design kept constant) for the PHX component, and the air pressure for the condenser
component (by nature it is not sensibly changing). This means that the relative for
that input is not considered.
The input disturbances to the system were given once reached the thermal
hydraulic steady state.
The data have been imported in MATLAB environment and the Laplace
transforms (frequency domain) of input and output data have been performed
through "tfest" tool [4.1]. The main adjustments needed to use tfest tool were:

- the data require to be uniformly spaced in time: RELAP5 3D calculations use


the maximum timestep fixed by the user until the calculation does require a
46
higher computational precision; in that case the timestep is halved (also the
minimum timestep is fixed by the user). So, generally, the timestep is not
constant. Using "interp1" it was possible to create uniform time-spaced vectors.
- translate the steady state to "zero" initial condition, both in abscissa and
ordinate variables.

This matrix represents a MIMO transfer function for the component studied, under
the hypothesis of independence of input output parameters and linearity of the
system. Of course the system analyzed is not linear, but near equilibrium conditions
every system can be considered as linearizable [4.10].
However, despite the computational effort, a series of problems encountered in
simulating the dynamics of the components did not allow an acceptable simulation of
the secondary and tertiary loops of the system.
These problems in the development of this approach are mainly related to:

- the non linearities of the physical system itself, which are characterized by two
phase flow heat exchange and cannot be correctly predicted by a simple
linearized model
- the uncertainty of the RELAP5 - 3D model which can be not perfectly adherent
to reality [4.11]
- the uncertainty of system code calculated data [4.11]
- the uncertainty on how MATLAB tfest behaves [4.1]
- the uncertainty on the anti-trasformation process from Simulink [4.1]

Even if this process somehow represents a black box approach, due to the
uncertainties introduced by the different tools adopted, further development can be
achieved in the aim of plant modeling. It must be mentioned that for some practical
applications this "experimental and feedback" dynamic systems characterization is
already applied [4.12].

47
5 MYRRHA RELAP5 3D model

In order to implement the control system in a quite detailed simulation of the plant,
the complete MYRRHA facility has been modeled through the use of a system code,
representing all the components of the reactor, from the primary to the tertiary
systems. The code used for the analysis is RELAP5-3D version 4.0.3.

5.1 RELAP5 3D system code

RELAP5 code series has been developed at the end of 70s at Idaho National
Laboratory (INL) and has been economically supported by U.S. Department of Energy
(DOE) and by Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The specific code's aim is the
analysis of all transients and accidents that have been hypotized for Light Water
Reactor (LWR) systems, including Large Break Loss Of Coolant Accident (LB-LOCA),
Small Break LOCA (SB-LOCA) and all operational transients.
RELAP5 can also be used for the simulation of a wide range of thermal hydraulic
transients in both nuclear and conventional plants where two-phase fluids or mixture
can take place [5.1].
The current versions of RELAP5 are the sum of all the previous experiences in
modeling the plant behavior during accidental events, in various processes involving
two phase flow. The code development has been greatly guided by the wide and
extended comparison with experimental data that have been obtained in
experimental facilities like LOFT, Semiscale, NRU.
Among the RELAP5-3D main improvements from previous versions [5.1], the
implementation of LBE properties must be mentioned. In particular, this latter aspect
extends the code capabilities towards new reactors analysis, such as the heavy liquid
metal technology.

5.2 Code solving methodologies

5.2.1 Thermal hydraulics

The RELAP5-3D hydrodynamic model is a transient, two-fluid model for flow of a


two-phase vapor/gas-liquid mixture. The one-dimensional or multi-dimensional
hydrodynamic model available in the code is based on the PILOT code developed at
the INL [5.1].
The thermal-fluid-dynamics is described by RELAP5-3D through non-
homogeneous and non-equilibrium balance equations for the two phases, numerically
solved by a semi-implicit scheme. The six balance equations that are obtained for the
two phases, usually called UVUT (Unequal Velocities Unequal Temperatures)
equations, are implemented in the hydrodynamic model but there are several options
for invoking simpler hydrodynamic models, e. g. the three Homogeneous Equilibrium
48
Model (HEM or Equal Velocities Equal Temperatures, EVET) equations, in which the
two phases are supposed to be in thermal and mechanical equilibrium.
The UVUT equations used as the basis for the hydrodynamic model are formulated in
terms of volume and time-averaged parameters of the flow. Phenomena that depend
upon transverse gradients, such as friction and heat transfer, are formulated in terms
of the bulk properties using empirical transfer coefficient formulations. In
simulations where transverse gradients cannot be represented through the use of
empirical transfer coefficients, such as subcooled boiling, additional models specially
developed for the particular situation are employed.
The basic two-fluid differential equations possess complex characteristic roots
that give the system a partially elliptic character and thus constitute an ill-posed
initial boundary value problem. In RELAP5-3D, the numerical problem is rendered
well-posed by the introduction of artificial viscosity or surface tension terms in the
difference equation formulation that damp the high frequency spatial components of
the solution. The ill-posed character of the two-fluid model is a result of the spatial
averaging process and of the omission of higher order physical effects in the
momentum formulation. Several stabilizing techniques are also employed in order to
have a well-posed and stable algorithm.
In the one-dimensional two-fluid model the balance equations for mass, momentum
and energy are computed for the two phases.

Figure 5.1: Elementary balance finite volume

Mass balance equations:

49
Momentum balance equations:

Energy balance equations:

From the balance equations of mass, momentum and energy within each phase, the
global balances are performed through additional conservation laws called "jump
conditions" at the interface:

The local instantaneous formulation of the balance equations of each phase is


integrated over the finite volume, and averaged over time. From a differential
equation, a difference one is then obtained.
The difference equations are based on the concept of a control volume in which
mass and energy are conserved by equating accumulation to the rate of mass and
energy in the cell boundaries minus the rate of mass and energy out of the cell
boundaries plus the source terms. This model results in defining mass and energy

50
volume average properties, while still requiring the knowledge of velocities at volume
boundaries. The velocities at boundaries are most conveniently defined through use
of momentum control volumes (cells) centered on the mass and energy cell
boundaries. This approach results in a numerical scheme having a staggered spatial
mesh. The scalar properties (pressure, specific internal energies and void fraction) of
the flow are defined at cell centers, and vector quantities (velocities) are defined on
the cell boundaries. The resulting 1D spatial nodalization is illustrated in Figure 4.2.

Figure 5.2: RELAP5 3D elementary cells

In order to close the problem, state relationships and constitutive models are still
needed.
For what concerns the thermo-dynamic fluid variables, they are expressed as
functions of the independent state variables. In addition to these variables, several
state derivatives are needed for some of the linearizations used in the numerical
scheme.
The constitutive relations include models for defining flow and heat transfer
regimes and flow-regime-related models for interphase friction, the coefficient of
virtual mass, wall friction, wall heat transfer and interphase heat and mass transfer.
Heat transfer regimes are defined and used for wall heat transfer. For the virtual
mass, a formula based on the void fraction is used. In RELAP5-3D, all constitutive
relations are evaluated using volume centered conditions.
Time step advancement is accomplished through a semi-implicit finite-
difference technique. This approach consists in considering the time advancement
through a weighted summation among implicitly and explicitly evaluated terms. The
weight of the two can vary according to the model used [5.1].

51
5.2.2 Heat transfer

The calculation of the heat transferred across boundaries of hydrodynamic volumes is


performed through the Heat Structure (HS) component. Temperatures and heat
transfer rates are computed from the one-dimensional (radial direction) form of the
transient heat conduction equation.

Figure 5.3 illustrates the placement of mesh points at which temperatures are
computed. The mesh point spacing is taken in the positive direction from left to right.
RELAP5-3D uses the terms "left" and "right" to describe the opposite sides of a heat
structure: by convention, the right surface represents the outside surface and the left
surface represents the inside surface. Mesh points must be placed such that they lie
on the two external boundaries and at any interface between different compositions
[5.1].

Figure 5.3: RELAP5 -3D Heat structure radial mesh

The HSs are represented using rectangular, cylindrical or spherical geometry. A factor
must be entered to relate the one-dimensional heat conduction representation to the
actual heat structure. Two options are available for entry: either a heat transfer
surface area or a geometry-dependent factor. In cylindrical geometry, the heat
structure is assumed to be a cylinder or a cylindrical shell, and the factor is the
cylinder length. For a hydrodynamic volume representing a core volume with fuel
pins or a heat exchanger volume with tubes, the factor is the product of the
hydrodynamic volume length and the number of pins or tubes.
Temperature-dependent thermal conductivities and volumetric heat capacities
are provided in tabular or functional form either from built-in or user-supplied data.
Finite differences are used to advance the heat conduction equation.
Boundary condition input specifies the type of boundary condition, the possible
attachment of a heat structure surface to a hydrodynamic volume, relating the 1D
heat conduction solution to the actual three dimensional nature of the structure.

52
For heat structure boundaries attached to hydrodynamic volumes, a heat
transfer correlation package is typically used to define boundary conditions. In
addition, symmetry or insulated conditions are available.

5.2.3 Neutron kinetics

There are two options for the computation of the reactor power in the RELAP5-3D
code [5.1]. The first option is the point reactor neutron kinetics (NK) model based on
the IREKIN program developed at the INL; this option was implemented in previous
versions of RELAP5. The second option is a multi-dimensional NK model based on the
NESTLE code developed at North Carolina State University. This option computes the
reactor fission power in either Cartesian or hexagonal geometry.
The point reactor kinetics model in the RELAP5-3D code is the simplest
approach that can be used to compute the transient behavior of the neutron fission
power in a nuclear reactor. The power is computed using the space-independent
approximation which assumes that power can be separated into space and time
functions. This approximation is adequate for cases in which the space distribution
remains nearly constant.
It is interesting to point out that for MYRRHA this lumped parameter kinetics
approximation is even more valid if the "coupling" of its core is taken into
consideration. In fact due to the high energy neutrons that travel without being highly
slowed down by a moderator, the mean free path of the neutrons becomes
comparable to the dimension of the core (which is more compact than a LWR one, to
maintain a high power density in the fuel); as a direct consequence of this, what
happens in one point is having an influence on the complete spatial distribution of
neutrons, thus proving the validity of the point kinetics approach.
This model computes both the prompt and delayed neutrons fission power. The
power computed by the NK module is released at the time of fission and includes
power from kinetic energy of the fission products and neutron moderation.
The point neutron kinetics equations are implemented as follows:

The point kinetics equations are solved using a modified Runge-Kutta method [5.1].
For what concerns reactivity feedbacks, the separable model was selected to compute
them.
The model assumes nonlinear feedback effects from moderator density and fuel
temperature changes and linear feedback from moderator and fuel temperature
53
changes. It is called the separable model because each effect is assumed to be
independent of the other effects. The separable model can be used if the reactor is
near critical about only one state point.
This model defines the reactivity as follows:

where:

- r0 is an input quantity that represents the reactivity corresponding to assumed


steady-state reactor power at t=0;

- rB is the bias reactivity which is calculated during input processing such that
r(0)=r0;

- rsi are obtained from input tables defining ns reactivity curves as a function of
time4;

- Vci are defined by the nc reactivity managed by control variables that can be user-
defined as reactivity contributions;

- R is a specific value from a table defining reactivity as a function of the current


moderator density of fluid i(t) in the hydrodynamic volume i (density reactivity
table);

- Wi is the density volume weighting factor for volume i;

- Twi(t) is the spatial density averaged moderator fluid temperature of volume i;

- awi [$/K] is the volume fluid temperature coefficient (not including density
changes) for volume i;

- n is the number of hydrodynamic volumes to which the reactivity coefficient is


referred,

- RF is a table defining reactivity as a function of the heat structure volume average


fuel temperature TFi in heat structure i (Doppler reactivity table);

- WFi and aFi are the fuel temperature heat structure weighting factor and the heat
structure fuel temperature coefficient respectively, for heat structure i;

- nFis is the number of heat structures.

4
Such tables are often used for scram simulations.
54
5.3 RELAP5 - 3D model description

MYRRHA RELAP5 3D model can be conceptually divided in several blocks:

Core
Primary system
Secondary system
Tertiary system

Each one of these blocks is modeled, as usual in RELAP5 nodalizations, by a


combination of volumes and junctions arranged in such a way to represent the real
plant layout in a way most adherent to the reality.

Figure 5.4 shows a representation of the RELAP5 model.

Figure 5.4: MYRRHA RELAP5-3D model

A conceptual description of each block in which the model has been divided is
provided in the next paragraphs.

55
5.3.1 Core

The core has been modeled using components 130 and 131.
The nuclear fuel is modeled through the HS 1130, coupled with PIPE 130 which
represents the LBE that flows through the core. The number of fuel pins is not
directly included in the input deck, but can be easily implemented through boundary
condition cards. In particular the total height of the HS divided by the active length of
the core gives the total number of fuel pins (127 x 108). The volumetric heat source
for HS 1130 is represented by the fission power from the reactor point kinetics
calculation. Point reactor kinetics model has been implemented in MYRRHA RELAP5-
3D model through the use of cards 30000000 to 30000801.
Only one of the two boundaries is coupled with a hydrodynamic volume (the
right one) through a convective boundary condition (option 110, vertical flow in
bundles). The left boundary of the fuel has a symmetry/insulated (zero temperature
gradient) boundary condition. This allows defining the conductive temperature
profile along the cylindrical volume with internal source which is almost a parabola.
In particular the ideal parabolic space trend would be followed in the case of constant
thermal conductivity.
For what concerns the core HS, the material properties are taken from table 1
(MOX conductivity and heat capacity), table 2 for Helium gap properties, table 3 for
15-15Ti clad properties and table 5 for the external oxide layer properties (the oxide
layer takes into consideration the chemical interaction between the clad metal and
the coolant [3]). The heat source is present only in the internal fuel structure (MOX
pellet), and this can be explicated through cards 11302701 to 11302705.
A dedicated HS 1131 has been coupled to PIPE 131 to represent the additional
-
heating. This second volumetric heat source is obtained from general table 2 (power
versus time). This HS takes the material properties from table 3 for 15 15Ti.

5.3.2 Primary system

The primary system model includes every volume (filled with LBE and/or cover gas)
that is part of the primary vessel. It is connected to the core (which is actually part of
the primary vessel model) through the lower plenum volume and the upper plenum
volume.
Lower plenum has been modeled through branch 125, which is a single volume
with three junctions connected respectively to the core, the by-pass and the annular
space between vessel and diaphragm, pipe 127, connecting to the cover gas plenum.
The upper plenum component has been modeled through the use of branch 135 and
pipe 140. This pipe is composed by LBE volumes in the lower part, while the upper
part is filled with cover gas. The free surface lies at a height of ~1.5m over the core
outlet. The volume placed at the top is linked to both the hot plenum top volume and
the pipe 127 top volume in order to make uniform the pressure in both cold and hot
56
plena (see figure 5.4). Time dependent volume 150 gives pressure and temperature
boundary conditions for the cover gas. Initial pressure and temperature conditions
have been fixed, respectively, at 1.2 bar and 200 C.
From hot plenum pipe, 4 junctions (161 to 164) depart towards the 4 PHXs.
PHX LBE side has been modeled using one annulus, downward oriented, which
represents the section in which LBE flows around water tubes.
The LBE pipes of the exchangers are equally spaced in the RELAP53D model
numbering, from card 170 to 200; 7 volumes for each pipe have been assumed to be
enough to simulate the heat transfer taking place from the LBE to the secondary
water through HSs 1170 to 1200.
Both sides of the PHX HSs are connected to hydrodynamic volumes, namely, LBE
side and water side pipes, with convective boundary conditions (different between
the both sides). The material properties for these HSs are taken from table 4 and 5,
namely AISI316L and Oxide properties for the external layers of the tubes.
Volumes 235 and 240 connect two PHXs each respectively to the primary
pumps 250 and 260.
Primary pumps components have been modeled after the design developed at
SCKCEN which all the needed data (nominal velocity, head, torque, run-down curve)
[5.2].
After the pumps the high pressure LBE is mixed in branch 270 to enter again the
lower plenum and close the primary loop.
It is important to note that the distance of the mid-plane of the PHX pipes and
the mid-plane of the core active section is exactly 1m (design parameter).

5.3.3 Secondary and tertiary systems

Since the secondary and tertiary cooling systems are constituted by 4 identical
independent loops, the card numbering has been chosen equally spaced of 50 units
per loop.
Taking this rule into consideration, the following description of the first loop
allows understanding the input card numbering for all the secondary and tertiary
loops.
Branch 300 is used to represent the water lower plenum of the PHX, while pipe
320 is composed of 20 volumes in order to represent water flow through the tube
bundle.
In particular, the first 7 volumes are thermally coupled with the HS 170 (same
axial division of LBE pipe) to represent the "active length" of the PHX (2.14 m). In the
remaining 13 volumes there are only hydraulic pressure drops without any heat
transfer, maintaining an exit quality of the water of ~0.3.
The PHX upper plenum is modeled through branch 325 that is directly
connected to pipe 327 (riser component). This pipe is composed by 23 volumes for a
total length of 43.2 m. The vertical elevation is 2.7 m which is just above the relative
steam drum mid-plane.

57
The steam drum component is numbered with card 330 which is a 6 volumes
pipe. This component is initialized with 1/3 of the total volume filled with liquid, and
the remaining part as vapor phase.
The feedwater line starts from the bottom of the separator and is modeled
through pipes 332 and 336, with secondary pump component (334) in between. The
feedwater line comes back to the lower plenum of the PHX through the feedwater
pipe, entering from the top of it, thus closing the loop.
The downward elevation of almost 13.2 m provides a subcooling degree of 1.4
C to the PHX inlet water because of the increased subcooling due to hydrostatic
pressure.
The saturated steam separated in the steam drum enters the steam line pipe
500. This pipe is composed by 26 volumes, for a total length of 80 m with a vertical
elevation of 11 m. This long line full of steam is characterized by pressure drops that
allow a certain degree of superheating entering the condenser.
Pipe 510 represents the condenser water side with 8 volumes of 1 m length
each.
The condenser component has been modeled as a counter-current shell and
tube heat exchanger.
The flexibility of the condenser design, still not well defined, gave the user the
"freedom" to adopt a quite simple model for it.
In particular, the number of tubes was chosen to be 230 per unit, each unit
constituted by 8 banks, with a nominal steam/water flow rate of 14 kg/s, a nominal
air flow rate of 410 kg/s and an outlet temperature of the air limited to 100 C. In this
preliminary design adopted for the RELAP5-3D model there are no fins implemented
for the condenser tubes.
The heat structure 1510 connects the two condenser sides. Its material
properties are taken from table 4, which refers to AISI316L conductivity and heat
capacity.
The condenser feedwater line is described by pipes 520 and 530 with the
condensate tank pipe in between. This natural circulation loop closes with the
entrance in the steam drum component of a slightly subcooled liquid.
The tertiary air side fan has been modeled as a time dependent junction (710)
coming from time dependent volume 700 (external environment) and entering pipe
725 (condenser air side).
This technical choice has been taken for two main reasons: first of all, the not
well defined design of the tertiary side itself leads to a more general and flexible
characterization by system code.
Secondly, the inertia of the fan (modeled as a time lag of the air flow rate) has
been chosen as an important parameter to perform sensitivity analyses. In fact,
depending on this inertia, the system can react more or less quickly to the transients
(see chapter 6).
Pipe 725 is thermally connected to the HS 1510 and, as usual for the heat
transfer components, has axial dimensions equal to the HS itself.

58
The heated air is again sent to the "environment" (time dependent volume 735).
In that case the environment is an outlet boundary condition given in order to close
the system (which in this case is no more a closed loop).

Table 5.1 MYRRHA RELAP5 3D model

MYRRHA RELAP5- COMP.DIS


PLANT COMP. RELAP5-3D COMP.
MODEL 3D COMP. CRETIZAT
NAME COMP. TYPE DIMENSIONS5
BLOCK N. ION

R=2.75 mm n m. p.6
CORE HS 1130 fuel heat structure =10
L=8915.4 m
n v7.=5
n m. p.
internal solid heat R=3.17 mm =8
BYPASS HS 1131
structures structure L=33173.4 m n v.
=7
L=4.745 m
125 lower plenum branch n j. =3
V=500 m
interspace A=3.173 m
127 pipe n v. =15
diaphragm - vessel L=10.255 m
A=2.75751 m
130 LBE core pipe n v. =7
L=2.536 m
A=2.75751 m
131 LBE by-pass pipe n v. =7
L=2.536 m
upper plenum A=57.05 m
135 branch n j. =3
(core outlet) L=0.6 m
upper plenum + A=57.05 m
140 pipe n v. =7
free surface L=7.12 m
PRIMARY gas boundary A=57.05 m b. c. 004
150 tmdpvol
SYSTEM conditions L=1.5 (p ,T)
A=0.3592 m
170 PHX 1 LBE side pipe n v. =7
L=2.14 m
A=0.3592 m
180 PHX 2 LBE side pipe n v. =7
L=2.14 m
A=0.3592 m
190 PHX 3 LBE side pipe n v. =7
L=2.14 m
A=0.3592 m
200 PHX 4 LBE side pipe n v. =7
L=2.14 m
volume pre-pump, A=0.7 m
235 snglvol
PHX 1 & 2 L=0.25 m
volume pre-pump, A=0.7 m
240 snglvol
PHX 3 & 4 L=0.25 m

5
R = Radius; L = Length; A = Area; V = Volume.
6
m.p. = mesh points
7
v. = volumes
59
19.434
A=0.5965 m rad/s
250 primary pump 1 pump
L=0.75 m head=3.0
5 [m]
19.434
A=0.5965 m rad/s
260 primary pump 2 pump
L=0.75 m head=3.0
5 [m]
lower plenum A=1.4368 m
270 branch n j.8=1
connection L=0.385 m
R=1.05 mm n m. p.
PHX HS 1170 PHX 1 tubes heat structure =5
L=209.11 m
n v. =7
PHX 1 lower H=0.3755 m
300 branch n j. =2
plenum water side V=0.1109 m
PHX 1 water A=0.1053 m
320 pipe n v. =20
side L=10.92 m
PHX 1 upper
H=1.6755 m
325 plenum water branch n j. =2
V=0.6457 m
side
A=0.105 m
327 riser loop 1 pipe n v. =23
L=43.2 m
H=2 m
330 steam drum 1 pipe n v. =6
V=29.36 m
feed-water pre A=0.099 m
332 pipe n v. =12
pump 1 L=25.26 m
secondary A=0.3 m 150 rad/s
SECONDARY 334 pump head=2
pump 1 H=0.2 m
SYSTEM [m]
feed-water A1=0.0501
after pump 1& m
336 pipe n v. =32
PHX feedwater A2=0.018 m
pipe L=37.68 m
A=0.0995 m
500 steam line 1 pipe n v. =26
L=78 m
condenser 1 A=0.072 m
510 pipe n v. =8
water side L=8 m
condensate line A=0.033 m
520 pipe n v. =4
1 L=3.75 m
condensate H=0.5 m
525 branch n j. =2
tank 1 V=0.978 m
feed water after A=0.033 m
530 pipe n v. =30
tank 1 L=64.3 m
CONDENSER R=1 mm n m. p. =3
1510 Condenser tubes heat structure
HS L=1840 m n v. =8

8
j. = junctions
60
A=64.5 m b. c.9 004
700 air inlet volume tmdpvol
H=10 m (p, T)
boundary
710 air fan tmdpjun controller condition
1 (mflowj)
TERTIARY H=8 m
SYSTEM 725 condenser 1 air side pipe n v. =8
V=97 m
condenser exit air A=12.13 m
727 branch n j. =1
volume H=0.2 m
A=16.125 m b. c. 004
735 environment air tmdpvol
L=10 m (p, T)

5.4 Control system implemented

In this section, a detailed description of the control system implemented in the


RELAP53D model is given.

5.4.1 Control rod reactivity system

As mentioned before, core power is calculated using the reactor point neutron
kinetics model, and one of the reactivity components, namely an extrinsic/external
feedbac /contribution, is based on the control rod position. The control rod
reactivity worth is known as a function of its position. The model considers the 6 CRs
foreseen by design, as if they are collapsed in only one CR with the resulting total
worth (see Table 5.2). The approximation is coherent with the lumped parameter
approach adopted in this RELAP5-3D model for MYRRHA neutron kinetics.

Table 5.2: Control Rod worth

TABLE 613: CR worth(z)


CARD z [m] [$]
20261301 -0.18734 6.68824
20261302 -0.17234 6.41324
20261303 -0.04734 2.32262
20261304 0.03266 -1.60239
20261305 0.15266 -8.75864
20261306 0.23266 -13.63051
20261307 0.31266 -17.79614
20261308 0.37266 -20.03989
20261309 0.45266 -21.68051
20261310 0.47766 -21.79301
20261311 0.49266 -21.78676

9
b. c. = boundary conditions
61
The control system input developed to simulate the control rod reactivity leads to
determine the current control rod position and the reactivity associated with it as a
function of the power level desired. The reactivity output is an evaluation of the rod
position vs. the worth table at the new rod position. The current value therefore is a
contribution to the total reactivity of the system.
The control variable logic is required to determine the current or new rod
position at each time step. The new position is calculated by adding the change in rod
position during the current time step 10 to the old rod position (see Chapter 3).
The shim speed is determined by the power error, which is the difference
between the current core power ("rktpow" minor edit in RELAP5-3D) and the desired
(set point 100 MW in normal operational conditions) core power. For stability, this
error is lagged by 0.5 seconds. The lagged power error is then related to the current
shim rod speed. A maximum rod travel rate of 8 mm/s was simulated in the shim
mode (velocity per rod), as can be seen from table 5.3.

Table 5.3: CR velocity as a function of power error

TABLE 610: CR velocity(power error)


CARD power error [W] velocity [m/s]
20261000 reac-t
20261001 -10000000.0 0.001333333
20261002 -10000.0 8.33333E-05
20261003 10000.0 -8.33333E-05
20261004 10000000.0 -0.001333333

5.4.2 Secondary pressure control system

Referring to the reactor control strategy (see chapter 3), which foresees the
constancy of the secondary cooling system pressure under all operating conditions,
this requirement is assured through pressure control system: this considers the
tertiary air fan flow rate as controlling parameter through a PI controller.
In order to implement such logic, the pressure error has been calculated
through a dedicated control variable, as the difference between the set point pressure
(~15 bar) and the actual value of pressure in the first volume of the steam line. The
set point value has been determined from the pressure value in the first volume of the
steam line after a steady state calculation. This error enters the PI controller.
In the RELAP5-3D control variable package, a Proportional-Integral controller
("prop-int") is defined as:

10
The current time step size is known by the code as "dt" general parameter

62
where the constants A1=Kp and A2=Ki must be defined by the user in the relative
cards' words. The V1 variable in the case studied is the pressure error.
The output of this control variable has been lagged for 300 seconds, in order to
take into consideration the fan inertia; the LAG control variable is implemented in
RELAP5-3D as follows:

where A1 is the delay in seconds. For what concerns the time lag, a sensitivity analysis
was performed around it: the time lag in fact, represents the inertia of the fan which
has a delay in response. The nominal value was considered 5 min, which may
correspond to a particular fan design, once given some data about the performance
curves of the fan (see chapter 7). This new control variable enters the time dependent
junction 710 as input, giving as output an air flow rate that maintains constant the
pressure. A table for the flow rate in function of the lagged output of the pressure
controller was chosen in order to guarantee different flow rates according to the
error value.
Table 5.4: secondary pressure controller table

Output Lag-Propint Air mass flow [kg/s]


-10000.0 0.0
-3000.0 100.0
0.0 410.0
3000.0 3900.0
10000.0 13000.0

63
64
6 Results of MYRRHA RELAP5 -3D simulations

This chapter is devoted to the description of the transients performed in RELAP5-3D.


To test the control systems implemented in the RELAP5 - 3D model of MYRRHA,
a series of characterizing transients was performed. The suitability of the control
system itself varies according to the particular condition under study.
Some calculations required a variation of the set point (e. g. the power
controller set point in the startup procedure) in which the controller plays the role of
servomechanism; in other cases instead the controller action is to keep the system in
the nominal conditions (regulation mode).
Each transient starts from neutronic and thermal-hydraulic equilibrium
conditions (steady state). The table 6.1 gives some of the main parameters values.

Table 6.1 - Steady state parameters values at 100% power

S. S. (100%
Plant block Parameter Reference Dim. []
power) value
Core mass flow rate 7763.87 7710 kg/s
Bypass mass flow rate 6018.55 6090 kg/s
LBE PHX mass flow rate 3445.61 3450 kg/s
Total primary system mass
13782.4 13800 kg/s
flow rate
Primary
PP flow rate 6891.21 6900 kg/s
side
Inlet core temperature 271.62 270 C
Outlet core average
357.4 360 C
temperature
Outlet by-pass temperature 282.61 280 C
Upper plenum temperature 324.59 325 C
PHX water mass flow rate 47.31 47 kg/s
Steam line mass flow rate 13.98 14.1 kg/s
Inlet water PHX temperature 197.02 200 C
Outlet water PHX
198.64 201.4 C
temperature
Inlet water condenser
197.99 201 C
temperature
Inlet quality PHX -1.127E-02 -0.01 /
Secondary
Exit quality PHX 0.29 0.3 /
side
Inlet quality condenser 1.0 1.01 /
65
Exit quality condenser -0.0103 0 /
Inlet water PHX pressure 16.02 16 bar
Steam line pressure 14.96 15 bar
Inlet condenser water
14.8 14.9 bar
pressure
Air mass flow rate 409.94 410 kg/s
Tertiary
Inlet air temperature 32 32 C
side
Outlet air temperature 95.67 96 C

The discrepancy between the primary LBE temperatures calculated by the code and
the reference ones given by design are related to the fact that RELAP5 - 3D
overestimates the specific heat of the LBE [6.1] thus increasing its thermal inertia.

In the following table 6.2 are shown the different transient analyzed.

Table 6.2: Transients analyzed

Case_n TRANSIENT DESCRIPTION


1 Inlet air T increase T in air + 10 C in 1800 s
2 Inlet air T decrease T in air - 40 C in 3600 s
3 Fan 1 30% mass flow air
Air fan slow down reduction
4 PP1 slow down PP1 coastdown
5 SP1 slow down SP1 coastdown
6 Steam line partial
Valve 80% closure
blockage
7 Startup 0 - 100% power rise
8 Shutdown 100 - decay heat power decrease
9 Power ramp 80 - 100% power set point changing in 150 s
10 Power ramp 100 - 80% power set point changing in 150 s

6.1 Increase in inlet air temperature

The MYRRHA plant should be able to maintain operating conditions in case of


changing of external conditions. In order to evaluate the capabilities of the control
system to follow such environmental conditions, an enveloping transient has been
studied, assuming a linear temperature variation of 10 C (from 32 C to 42 C) in
1800 s in the external air entering the tertiary system. The temperature ramp starts
at 500 s and ends at 2300 s, as can be seen in the following figures (from Figure 6.1 to
Figure 6.3).

66
As for all the other transients analyzed in this chapter, the calculation starts
from neutronic and thermal hydraulics equilibrium conditions, which were reached
in previous steady state calculations not reported here.
This transient is symmetric in the four loops, as the inlet air temperature is an
environmental common condition for the entire plant. It is important to point out
that, due to this symmetry, the parameters reported in the following figures are
referred to a single secondary and tertiary cooling loops, because of the perfect
matching with the other loops.
The unrealistically too fast increase has been considered as a conservative
enveloping transient with respect to a real gradual increase of environmental
temperature.

Table 6.3 summarizes the parameters plotted in the related figures for this transient.

Table 6.3: Parameters described for "Inlet air T increase" transient

Operational
Inlet air T increase
transient

Figure 6.1 Steam line pressure

Figure 6.2 Air mass flow rate

Figure 6.3 Exit air temperature

Increase in inlet air T- Steam line pressure


15.00

14.99
pressure [bar]

14.98

14.97

14.96

14.95
0 1000 2000 3000 4000
time [s]

Figure 6.1: Air inlet temperature + 10 C - Steam line pressure

Fig. 6.1 describes the controlled pressure trend over time in the first volume of the
steam line (volume linked to the pressure controller). As can be seen, the increase in
pressure is in the order of kPa. The pressure remains higher until the inlet air
temperature ramp (input) persists, and after that, the variable fast reaches the set-
point value.

67
Increase in inlet air T- Air mass flow rate
450

440

mass flow rate [kg/s]


430

420

410

400
0 1000 2000 3000 4000
time [s]

Figure 6.2: Air inlet temperature + 10 C air mass flow rate in the four loops

Fig. 6.2 illustrates the increase in air mass flow rate (almost 31 kg/s) needed by the
system in order to force the pressure to its controlled value.

Increase in inlet air T - Exit air temperature


102

100
temperature [C]

98

96

94
0 1000 2000 3000 4000
time [s]

Figure 6.3: Air inlet temperature + 10 C air outlet temperature

Fig. 6.3 represents the outlet temperature increase due to the increase in inlet air
temperature. The outlet temperature increase is lower than the inlet one, because the
air flow rate increases; in fact, due to the condenser Logarithmic Mean Temperature
Difference (LMTD) decrease, the secondary pressure would tend to increase, so the
controller provides a higher flow rate.

6.2 Decrease in inlet air temperature

This transient calculation was performed considering a linear variation of inlet air
temperature form 32 to -8 C in 3600 seconds (one hour). The temperature ramp

68
starts at 500 s and ends at 4100 s, as can be seen from the figures below (from Fig. 6.4
to Fig. 6.12).
More variables are analyzed in this second transient respect with the "Inlet air
temperature increase" already discussed: in particular, this transient presents a
greater variation of the inlet perturbation, which is reflected in the stronger variation
of the output parameters. The qualitative similar trend of the results in both
calculations allows common observations valid for the two cases.
Also this unrealistically too fast input parameter variation (inlet air
temperature) has been considered as a conservative enveloping transient that
includes the range of critical variations for important parameters.
Among them, some significant variables are illustrated with the comparison
between the presence or not of the secondary pressure controller. This comparison
has been considered a good way to highlight the action of the controller and to see
how the free system would behave. The response of the system alone, which may be
unacceptable, for example as it is in the transient analyzed here, provides a
quantitative error on the basis of which the controller itself is designed.
The symmetry of the problem allows again showing only the behavior of one of
the four loops.

Table 6.4 summarizes the parameters plotted in the related figures for this transient

Table 6.4: Parameters described for "Inlet air T decrease" transient

Comparison
Operational
Inlet air T decrease Y-Np
transient
control11

Figure 6.4 CR reactivity N

Figure 6.5 T out core Y

Figure 6.6 T in core Y

Figure 6.7 Exit air temperature Y

Figure 6.8 Steam line pressure N

Figure 6.9 Steam line pressure Y

Figure 6.10 Air mass flow rate N

Figure 6.11 Condenser power N

Figure 6.12 Condenser power Y

11
The Figure represents the same variable evaluated through two different calculations, namely in the
presence (Y=Yes) or in the absence (N=No) of the secondary pressure controller
69
Decrease in inlet air T- Control rod reactivity
0.5200

0.5190
reactivity [$]

0.5180

0.5170

0.5160
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 6.4: Air inlet temperature -40 C control rod reactivity

Figure 6.4 represents the reactivity inserted by the control rods that changes
according to the change in tertiary side conditions. In particular, the decrease in inlet
air temperature increases the power extracted by the plant. This unbalance is felt
from the primary side which shows a decrease in its average temperature; as a
consequence the CR system tends to compensate the increase in reactivity given by
the intrinsic feedbacks, inserting the control rods.
This is the first example of a parameter shown only in the case of the inlet air
temperature decrease. The rate of change of CR reactivity is stronger in this case
respect to the previous one, due to the entity of the perturbation given. Qualitatively
the trends are the same in both cases, with the opposite sign (in the case of increase
of the inlet air temperature the average core temperature shows a slight increase,
which reduces the effects of the intrinsic feedbacks, thus requiring a weaker
reactivity insertion from the control rod system).

Decrease in inlet air T - T out core


360

350
temperature [C]

340

330 T out core


T out core_no p control
320
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 6.5: Air inlet temperature -40 C LBE outlet core temperature
70
Figure 6.5 represents the temperature at the outlet of the core in the case of
intervention of the secondary pressure control and in the absence of it. In particular,
in the absence of pressure control, the air flow rate remains constant to the nominal
steady state value of 410 kg/s and, as a consequence, the system finds a new steady
state condition at nominal power (due to the presence of the power control through
the control rods), but at lower secondary side pressure (see figure 6.9).
As can be seen from figures 6.5 and 6.6, constancy in the secondary pressure
guarantees also constancy in the temperatures of the primary side, at a same power
level. This represents one of the reasons why a primary temperature control was not
necessary, as already mentioned in Chapter 3.
The temperature difference along the core is the same between the two cases of
presence or absence of secondary pressure control: the power exchanged remains the
same.

Decrease in inlet air T - T in core

270
temperature [C]

260
T in core
250 T in core_ no p
control
240
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 6.6: Air inlet temperature -40 C LBE inlet core temperature

Decrease in inlet air T - Air exit temperature


100
T out air 1
90
T out air_ no p control
temperature [C]

80

70

60

50
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 6.7: Air inlet temperature -40 C air exit temperature

71
The limited decrease of the air exit temperature with respect to the inlet one is due to
the decrease in air mass flow rate (figure 6.10) required to keep constant the
secondary pressure.
In figure 6.7, the outlet temperature of the air is shown in the case of presence
of the secondary pressure controller and in the absence of it. As can be seen, the
controller limits the decrease of this parameter because the secondary pressure is not
free to drop. Quantitatively speaking, in the case with the controller, the exit air
temperature decreases of almost ~12 C respect with the original steady state value
(~96 C). In the case without the controller the exit air temperature shows a decrease
of almost 40 C, close to the inlet air temperature decrease postulated as input.
The lower outlet temperature of the air in the absence of a secondary pressure
control has to be considered in relation to the new low pressure steady state
conditions reached by the system (figure 6.9). This decrease tends to equalize the
decrease in the inlet air temperature because maintaining the same LMTD represents
the only way in which the system is capable to exchange the same thermal power. In
fact, it is possible to assume a nearly constant global Heat Transfer Coefficient (HTC)
for the heat exchanger because:

- the water side of the exchanger is still condensing, thus maintaining always an
high HTC (slight variation of its value)

- the thermal properties of the steel tubes can be considered constant

- the air side is also maintaining its thermal exchange properties.

Decrease in inlet air T - Steam line pressure


15.2

15
pressure [bar]

14.8

14.6

14.4

14.2
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 6.8: Air inlet temperature -40 C pressure in the steam line

The initial decrease of the secondary pressure is related to the increase of the power
removed by the tertiary cooling system. After the perturbation, the controller brings
back the pressure to the set point value. Figure 6.8 shows the particular behavior
(namely, the transfer function) of the secondary pressure controller.

72
Decrease in inlet air T- Steam line pressure

14.5

12.5
pressure [bar]

p SL 1

10.5 p SL1_no p
control

8.5

6.5
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 6.9: Air inlet temperature -40 C pressure in the steam line

In figure 6.9 the steam line pressure trends in the case of secondary pressure
controller presence or absence are shown. The pressure decrease in the absence of
the controller is of the order of 8.5 bar, which means changing the secondary loops
thermodynamic conditions (saturation temperature at ~6 bar of ~160 C). The entity
of this strong pressure decrease is related to the inlet air temperature change of 40
C.

Decrease in inlet air T - Air mass flow rate


420
mass flow rate [kg/s]

380

340

300
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 6.10: Air inlet temperature - 40 C - air mass flow rate

The air flow rate required in order to maintain constant the secondary pressure is 90
kg/s less than the operating value. Figure 6.10 shows the decrease of this controlled
parameter. Obviously, in the absence of a secondary pressure control the air mass
flow rate is imposed as a constant by definition (in the particular case of the flow rate

73
simulated through a time dependent junction at least), and this is the reason why it is
not reported in the figure.

Decrease in inlet air T - condenser power


28.0

27.8
power [MW]

27.6

27.4

27.2

27.0
0 2000 4000 time [s] 6000 8000 10000

Figure 6.11: Air inlet temperature - 40 C condenser power

The thermal power exchanged by the condenser is the same before and after the
temperature decrease. Figure 6.11 shows the behavior of this parameter during the
transient, focusing the attention on the case with the controller. Figure 6.12 instead
makes a comparison between the two cases in the presence or absence of the
secondary pressure control. It is interesting to point out that for the first 300 s (the
value of the fan time delay) the two curves are overlapped.
While in the first case the power peaks are both higher and lower respect with
the nominal value, in the second case there is only a stronger positive power peak:
the action of the controller plays a role trying to bring always the system to the
nominal conditions. The "negative" power peak is related to the inertia of the
controller itself.

Decrease in inlet air T- Condenser power


30
condenser power
29.5
condenser power_no
29 p control
power [MW]

28.5

28

27.5

27
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 6.12: Air inlet temperature - 40 C condenser power


74
As already said, also in the case of the absence of the controller the power exchanged
by the condenser tends anyway to reach the original value, to maintain a balance in
the plant which is still producing 110 MW due to the action of the power controller
through the control rod movement. The symmetry of the transient imposes to each
cooling loop to exchange a fourth of the total nominal power produced.

6.3 Air fan slow down transient

In this transient, one of the four tertiary loops experiences a decrease in air mass flow
rate from the operating (nominal) value of 410 kg/s to 300 kg/s, in order to study the
response of the system (including the affected loop itself and the other loops). This
digital variation in air flow rate has been triggered at 500 s. The induced variations in
the most relevant plant parameters can be seen in the following figures (from 6.13 to
6.21).
This is the first transient in which an asymmetric variation of an input
parameter takes place. A different behavior is thus foreseen in the different SCS loops,
in particular between the affected loop and the undamaged loops. This is the reason
why some variables are represented in different loops (see notes 2 and 3).
Table 6.5 summarizes the parameters plotted in the related figures for this transient.

Table 6.5: Parameters described for "Air fan slow down" transient

Operational
Air fan slow down Loops analyzed
transient
Figure 6.13 CR axial position /
Figure 6.14 Steam line pressure 1st and 2nd secondary loops
Steam line pressure (N p control, 1 &
Figure 6.15 1st and 2nd secondary loops
2 loops)
1st and 2nd PHXs (1st
Figure 6.16 T in LBE PHX
primary loop)
1st and 2nd PHXs (1st
Figure 6.17 T out LBE PHX
primary loop)
Figure 6.18 Exit air temperature 1st and 2nd tertiary loops12
1st, 2nd PHXs (1st primary
Figure 6.19 PHX LBE mass flow rate loop) and 3rd PHX (2nd
primary loop)13
1st, 2nd and 3rd tertiary
Figure 6.20 Air mass flow rate
loops
1st, 2nd and 3rd tertiary
Figure 6.21 Condenser power
loops

12
This is an asymmetric transient in which the behavior of the first loop is different from the other three ones
13
Some particular parameters need to be evaluated three loops to properly represent the dynamic of the
system: in fact the first and the second loop are coupled together through the first primary pump, while the
third one is symmetrically behaving with the fourth loop.
75
Air fan slow down - CR axial position
-1.055

-1.06

position [cm]
-1.065

-1.07

-1.075

-1.08
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 6.13: Fan slow down CR position

The control rod extraction (figure 6.13) represents an insertion of reactivity due to
the slight increase in the average primary temperature related to the lower power
removed by one of the tertiary system loops. The increased effect of the intrinsic
feedbacks is felt by the power control system which acts on the control rods
movement.

Air fan slow down - Steam line pressure

22.5
p in
pressure [bar]

20.5 SL1

p in
18.5
SL2

16.5

14.5
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 6.14: Fan slow down Steam line pressure

Figure 6.14 shows the increase in the first and second steam lines pressure. In
particular, the affected loop suffers an increase of almost 8 bar due to the loss of the
control system, while the others almost do not feel the variation. This "independence"
of the different loops is somehow related to the presence of the controllers which are
functioning in the three not affected loops, while in the first one it is no more
available.

76
Air fan slow down - Steam line pressure
26 without p control

22
pressure [bar]
18

14
p_SL1 p_SL3

10
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time[s]

Figure 6.15: Fan slow down Steam line pressure

Figure 6.15 shows the trend of the pressure in the first and second steam lines in the
case of absence of the pressure controller. In this case all the loops deviates from the
steady state value, as a demonstration of a stronger coupling between them.

Air fan slow down - T in LBE PHX


322

320
temperature [C]

318

316
T in LBE PHX1
314 T in LBE PHX2

312
0 2000 4000 6000 8000
time [s]

Figure 6.16: Fan slow down T in LBE PHX

77
Air fan slow down - T out LBE PHX
286
T out LBE PHX1
T out LBE PHX2

temperature [C]
282

278

274

270
0 2000 4000 6000 8000
time [s]

Figure 6.17: Fan slow down - T out LBE PHX

Figures 6.16 and 6.17 show the trends of inlet and outlet temperatures of LBE from
the first and second PHXs. As can be seen, the outlet temperature in the affected loop
shows a stronger change because of the worsening of the heat transfer across the
exchanger. In particular two different phenomena should be mentioned:

- the temperature difference across the PHX decreases due to the reduced
thermal power exchanged by the loop
- the average water temperature of the affected loop increases as the
secondary pressure increases.

In order to transfer the power, the LMTD across the exchanger has to increase.
Quantitatively, the inlet temperatures in the affected and normal loops are
respectively increased of 5.5 and 4 C. The outlet temperatures in the affected and
normal loops are respectively increased of 10 and 2 C.
The inlet LBE temperatures are more similar in the different loops due to the
thermal inertia in between (upper plenum, PHX, lower plenum) that plays a role in
term of homogenization of the system.
Air fan slow down - Air exit temperature

106
temperature [C]

T out air1
102 T out air2

98

94
0 2000 4000 6000 8000
time [s]

78
Figure 6.18: Fan slow down - Air exit temperature

The increase in air outlet temperature for the damaged loop (~11 C) is due to the air
flow reduction. The controlled loops temperatures slightly decrease (1 C) due to the
small air flow increase.

Air fan slow down - PHXs LBE mass flow rate


3460
mass flow rate[kg/s]

3450

mflow PHX1
3440
mflow PHX2
mflow PHX3
3430
0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 7000 8000
time [s]

Figure 6.19: Fan slow down LBE mass flow rate PHX

Figure 6.19 interestingly shows the repartition of mass flow rates of LBE in the PHXs.
The first cooling loop presents an unbalance between the power removed by the
tertiary side and this is translated in terms of primary side redistribution of mass
flow rates. In particular, the change in the conditions of one cooling loop is felt
asymmetrically by the primary side: the first and second PHXs primary sides are
joined together by the PP1, while the secondary sides remain somehow independent;
the remaining two loops behave equally between them but differently from the
previous two. This is the reason why three loops are represented in figure 6.19.
The water side of the first secondary loop increases in pressure due to the loss
of the controller and a consequent reduced heat removal from the tertiary side. The
increase in water temperature is directly related to pressure increase of the two
phase coolant. The PHX LMTD corresponding to the damaged loop decreases, causing
a weighted increase in the primary side temperature. The increase of the primary
average temperature in the affected loop is related to a decrease in the average
density and as a consequence, of the mass flow rate. The decrease in mass flow rate
for the affected loop is reflected in an increase in all the other mass flows, in
particular of the one coupled with the same first primary pump.

79
Air fan slow down - Air mass flow rate

420

mass flow rate[kg/s]


380
mflow air 1

340 mflow air 2


mflow air 3
300
0 2000 4000 6000 8000
time [s]

Figure 6.20: Fan slow down Air mass flow rate

Figure 6.20 represents the air mass flow rate controlled in order to keep constant the
secondary pressure (controlled in the not affected loops). The first loop has no more
control and the flow rate reaches the value selected for this transient. In order to
maintain the removal of thermal power (the production of power is always
maintained the same by the CR system), the remaining loops increase their flow rates,
thanks to the pressure control that is still performing its function. The difference
between the secondary and tertiary loops is here slightly perceivable.

Air fan slow down - Condenser power


29

27
power [MW]

25

23
cond pow
21 1
0 2000 4000 6000 8000
time [s]

Figure 6.21: Fan slow down Condenser power

As can be seen from figure 6.21, the power exchanged by the condensers increases for
the intact loops (again with a non perceptible difference between the second and
third loops), and decreases for the affected one. There are two contrasting reasons
that influence the thermal power exchanged by the affected loop. According to the
relation:

the air mass flow rate decrease contributes to the exchanged thermal power
decrease, while the increase in the air exit temperature gives an opposite
80
contribution, increasing the temperature difference across the exchanger. The
resulting decrease in thermal power is due to the product of the two factors. The
primary side still produces 110 MW, and this is the reason why the decrease of
thermal power exchanged by the affected loop is balanced by the same total amount
of power increase from the remaining three loops, keeping constant the total power
removed.

6.4 First primary pump trip

This transient calculation has been performed considering the trip of the PP1 at 500 s
from the initial steady state conditions. Even if PP trip is usually treated as an
accidental more than an operational transient, it was considered interesting to test
the behavior of the controlled system in such an "extreme" case. More specifications
concerning the primary pump implementation, focusing the attention on how the trip
evolves, are available in Appendix A. Here, just to understand the general behavior of
the system evolution, it must be said that after the primary pump has stopped (500 s),
it becomes a core by-pass. This means that the core will receive less LBE mass flow
rate and as a consequence, it heats up. The behavior of the system is here symmetric
for half of the plant: the secondary and tertiary cooling loops behave the same two by
two. This is the reason why, in the figures represented below, the first and tertiary
loops parameters are illustrated. In fact, the groups 1st and 2nd PHXs and the
respective secondary and tertiary loops served by the same PP1, behave the same due
to the perturbation on the primary component they share. Table 6.6 summarizes the
parameters plotted in the related figures for this transient.

Table 6.6: Parameters described for "First Primary Pump trip" transient

Operational Loops analyzed (two out of


transient First Primary Pump trip four)
Figure 6.22 CR reactivity /
Figure 6.23 Steam line pressure 1st and 3rd secondary loops
Figure 6.24 Steam line pressure (N p control) 1st and 3rd secondary loops
1st and 3rd PHX (1st and 2nd
T in LBE PHX (1 & 3 loops)
Figure 6.25 primary loops respectively)
1st and 3rd PHX (1st and 2nd
T out LBE PHX (1 & 3 loops)
Figure 6.26 primary loops respectively)
1st and 3rd PHX (1st and 3rd
T in water PHX (1 & 3 loops)
Figure 6.27 secondary loops respectively)
1st and 3rd PHX (1st and 3rd
T in water PHX (N p control, 1 & 3 loops)
Figure 6.28 secondary loops respectively)
Figure 6.29 Exit air temperature (1 & 3 loops) 1st and 3rd tertiary loops
Figure 6.30 PPs flow rate (1 & 3 loops) 1st and 2nd primary loops
Figure 6.31 Air mass flow rate (1 & 3 loops) 1st and 3rd tertiary loops
Figure 6.32 PHX power (1 & 3 loops) 1st and 3rd secondary loops
Figure 6.33 Condenser exit quality (1 & 3 loops) 1st and 3rd secondary loops
81
First Primary Pump trip - CR reactivity
0.70

0.65
CR reac [$]

0.60

0.55

0.50
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 6.22: First primary Pump trip CR reactivity

In the case of first primary pump trip, the reactivity inserted by the CR system should
compensate the effects of the reactivity feedbacks induced by the average core
temperature increase. Figure 6.22 illustrates this increase of almost 13 c$ through the
extraction of the control rods.

First Primary Pump trip - Steam line pressure


18

15
pressure [bar]

12
p SL1
p SL3
9

6
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 6.23: First primary Pump trip Steam line pressure

Figures 6.23 and 6.24 represent the first and third steam line pressures in the case of
secondary pressure controller presence and absence, respectively.
If the steam line pressure is controlled, even the affected loops (the first and
second ones), after having damped their oscillations, come back to the set point value.
The remaining two loops present some initial disturbances that are quickly
suppressed by the controllers. The first two loops present stronger oscillations due to
the affected primary side conditions (the LBE mass flow rate is strongly changed),
that translate in worsened heat transfer to the secondary sides.
82
First Primary Pump trip - Steam line pressure, no p
control

pressure [bar] 23.5 p SL1


pSL3

13.5

3.5
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 6.24: First primary Pump trip Steam line pressure

The same cannot be said in the case of absence of controller. The pressure of the two
affected loops drastically decreases until ~4 bar (see Figure 6.24). In fact, the
unbalance between the thermal power coming from the core and the power removed
from the tertiary side causes a depressurization of the secondary system. The not
affected loops receive instead more thermal power from the primary side (which is
constant due to the power control through CR movement), which causes a
pressurization in the secondary systems.

First Primary Pump trip - PHX exit LBE T


310

290
temperature [C]

270
T outLBE PHX1

250 T outLBE PHX3

230
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 6.25: First primary Pump trip T exit LBE PHX

83
First Primary Pump trip - PHX inlet LBE T
360

320
T in LBE
temperature [C]

PHX1
T in LBE
280 PHX3

240

200
0 2000 4000 time [s] 6000 8000 10000

Figure 6.26: First primary Pump trip T inlet LBE PHX

Figures 6.25 and 6.26 show the temperatures at the inlet and at the outlet
(respectively), of the first and third PHXs, LBE side.
The sudden temperature peak for the primary LBE temperature (loop 1 and 2)
shown in figure 6.25, is due to the immediate decrease of the power exchanged and
the contemporary pressure decrease on the secondary side caused by the unbalance
between PHX and condenser power.
In particular, it is interesting to note that for the "normal" loops, the inlet and
outlet temperatures both increase with respect to the initial steady state. For the two
affected loops instead there is an inversion: the inlet LBE temperature becomes lower
than the outlet one: this means that there is an inversion of flow rate, as
demonstrated by graph 6.30.

First Primary Pump trip - PHX inlet water T


210

200
temperature [C]

190

180

170 Tin wat PHX2


Tin wat PHX3
160
0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 7000 8000
time [s]

Figure 6.27: First primary Pump trip T inlet water PHX

84
For what concerns the water side of the PHXs (fig. 6.27), the two unaffected loops
show a decrease of almost 15 C of the PHX inlet water temperature, while the two
others present a slight increase of the order of 2 - 3 C, once reached the new steady
state. The reason of this lies in the fact that the not affected loops are exchanging
more thermal power (fig. 6.31): this can be seen from figure 6.32, where the steam
condensing in the aerocondenser (third loop) exits from the exchanger with an higher
degree of subcooling; this causes a decrease in the mixing temperature of the steam
drum component, which in turn is related to the PHX inlet water temperature shown
in figure 6.27. For the same and opposite effect, the inlet water temperature increases
in the affected loops.

First Primary Pump trip - PHX inlet water T without p


control
240

220
temperature [C]

200 Tin wat PHX1

180 Tin wat PHX3

160

140
0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 7000 8000
time [s]

Figure 6.28: First primary Pump trip PHX inlet water temperature

In the case without pressure control (fig 6.28), the situation is reversed: the affected
loops show a strong decrease (~50 C) in the water temperature, while the not
affected ones show an increase of ~40 C. This is due to the air flow rate which does
not change during the transient (maintaining too high heat exchange in the affected
loops and causing an unbalance with the power received from the primary system).
During the transient in the controlled case, the affected loops temperature
initially decreases due to the pressure fall, and then increases thanks to the pressure
controller effect which decreases the air mass flow and establishes again the power
balances. This does not happen in the not controlled case, where the pressure (so, the
temperature) does not come back to the set point value. The reason of this stands on
the fact that the heat transferred by the two primary heat exchangers, passing from
counter-current to co-current, worsens quite a lot: in order to maintain the thermal
balance on the secondary side, the LMTD in the condenser must decrease. Thus the
secondary pressure decreases and remains low.

85
First Primary Pump trip - Air exit T
120
T out air 1

110 T out air 3


temperature [C]

100

90

80
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 6.29: First primary Pump trip Exit air temperature

Figure 6.29 represents the outlet temperature of the air side in both the loops (1 & 3);
as previously said, both the HTC and LMTD in the condenser change in order to
maintain the thermal balance on the secondary side: the air exit temperature follows
this trend adapting its value though its nonlinear dependence over the heat transfer
phenomenon. The controlled air mass flow (figure 6.31) contributes to the exit air
temperature trend.

First Primary Pump trip - Primary Pump flow rate

7000
mass flow rate [kg/s]

3000

mflow PP1
-1000
mflow PP2

-5000
0 200 400 600 800 1000
time [s]

Figure 6.30: First primary Pump trip Mass flow rate PPs

Fig. 6.30 clearly shows the inversion of mass flow rate through the primary tripped
pump. In particular, when the pump stops to work, the flow redistributes according to
the pressure drops in the two parallel channels (PP1 and core). The pressure drops in

86
the pump are lower than the pressure drops along the core, and the new path of the
fluid lowers the flow rate through the core.

First Primary Pump trip - Air mass flow rate

670
mass flow rate [kg/s]

mflow air1
mflow air 3
470

270

70
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 6.31: First primary Pump trip Air mass flow rate

The air flow rate is led by the pressure controllers. The damaged loops suffer a
decrease of thermal power coming from the primary side and the air flow rate
decrease in order to maintain it at the set point pressure value. For the same reason,
the not affected loops show an increase of air mass flow (of course, all the non
linearities that characterize the heat transfer process have to be accounted for).
Figure 6.31 represent the behavior of the controllers in terms of air flow rate. The
same graph in the case without pressure controllers would simply be a constant
value.

First Primary Pump trip - PHX power exchanged


PHX1 pow
45
PHX3 pow

35
power [MW]

25

15

5
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 6.32: First primary Pump trip PHX power exchanged

87
Figure 6.32 shows the redistribution of power exchanged by the loops: the sum of
them gives the total 110 MW (42 MW each functioning loop and 13 MW the other
two). The reduced power exchanged by the affected loops is related to the change in
mass flow rates and enthalpies differences across the heat transfer components.

First Primary Pump trip - Condenser exit quality


0.15
x_out cond1

0.10 x_out cond3

0.05
quality[/]

0.00

-0.05

-0.10
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 6.33: First primary Pump trip Condenser exit quality

Figure 6.33 is another point of view to see the different powers exchanged by the
loops (at the net of the vapor mass that arrives to each condenser and the air mass
flow required to condense it). The last two aerocondensers are able to increase the
degree of subcooling of the water at their exit, thus increasing the power exchanged.

6.5 First secondary pump slow down

This transient has been analyzed to study the behavior of the system after the trip of
one of the four secondary water pumps. The parameter variations have less influence
on the overall plant behavior with respect to the previous PP1 transient and for this
reason the number of parameters represented is reduced.
This transient is asymmetric between the four secondary loops: the first one
behaves differently due to change in the pump flow rate. The difference in behavior
from the second to the third secondary loops (due to the asymmetry introduced by
the PP1) is not perceivable in the quantitative range of interest.
An important phenomenon that occurs in this situation is related to the natural
circulation taking place in the affected loop, which contributes to lower the range of
parameter variations from the initial conditions. This is a substantial difference from
the PP1 transient analyzed before.
The rotational velocity of the secondary pumps is given through a trip that
relates it to the water mass flow rate in the secondary loop. The transient was

88
simulated giving a fake water mass flow error in the trip input, in order to have a zero
rotational velocity in the first secondary pump after 500 s (time after the trip
becomes true).

Table 6.7 summarizes the parameters plotted in the related figures for this transient

Table 6.7: Parameters described for "First Secondary Pump trip" transient

Operational
First Secondary Pump trip Loops analyzed
transient
Figure 6.34 Steam line pressure (1 & 2 loops) 1st and 2nd secondary loops
Figure 6.35 PHX water flow rate (1 & 2 loops) 1st and 2nd secondary loops
Figure 6.36 Air mass flow rate (1 & 2 loops) 1st and 2nd tertiary loops

First Secondary Pump trip - Steam line pressure


15.04

15.02
First SL pressure
pressure [bar]

15.00 Second SL pressure

14.98

14.96

14.94
0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000
time [s]

Figure 6.34: First secondary pump slow down - Steam line pressure

As shown in figure 6.34, the range of variation of the steam line pressure is close to
the set point value even for the first affected loop. The controller quickly damps the
pressure oscillations.

89
First Secondary Pump trip - PHX water flow rate
50

mass flow rate [kg/s] 46

42

38

First PHX water


34
fow rate
Second PHX
30 water fow rate
0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000
time [s]

Figure 6.35: First secondary pump slow down - PHX water mass flow rate

Figure 6.35 shows the change in the water flow rate in the first and second loops. The
affected loop presents a decrease of less than 10 kg/s in the water flow rate, while the
others do not perceive any change.

First Secondary Pump trip - Air flow rate


413
First air flow rate
Second air flow rate

412
mass flow rate [kg/s]

411

410

409
0 1000 2000 3000 4000
time [s]

Figure 6.36: First secondary pump slow down - Air mass flow rate

Figure 6.36 shows the change in the air flow rate required to maintain constant the
secondary pressure: as can be seen, also the not affected loops require a slight
decrease of this parameter to reach again the steady state.
As can be noted from the figures above, the secondary water side of the plant
maintains its functionality in natural circulation mode.
90
6.6 Single steam line partial blockage

This transient is characterized by the partial blockage of the first secondary loop
steam line: this line, which connects the steam drum component to the condenser
(Figure 5.4), is blocked for the 80% of its flow area. This blockage happens in half a
second and remains until the end of the transient.
The blockage is simulated though the closure of a valve in the first loop steam
line. In particular the valve component has been implemented purposely for that
transient.
The steam line 500, normally composed of 26 volumes, has been divided into
two pipes of 13 volumes each to maintain the original dimensions. Valve component
501 is a servo valve with a flow area coincident with the steam line tube area.
The valve behavior is determined by a table that gives the flow area as a
function of time, through a table activated by a trip.
The full abrupt area change model has been implemented to perform the Kloss
(pressure drops across the valve component) in the way closest to reality.
In order to maintain the symmetry of the problem, namely the pressure drops
across that particular point of the steam line, the 13th junctions of the remaining
steam lines have been characterized with this full abrupt area change option.
The presence of the valve is not seen by the code until the trip associated with
the valve becomes true (at the net of the pressure drops across the junction itself).

The following table 6.8 gives the evolution of the flow area with the time after trip
473 (time > 20500 seconds).
The card refers to the RELAP5 - 3D implementation of the valve itself.

Table 6.8: Steam Line valve behavior

CARD TIME AFTER TRIP FLOW AREA


20255500 reac-t 473
20255501 -1 1
20255502 0 1
20255503 0.5 0.2
20255504 100000 0.2

The asymmetry of the problem respect with the affected primary loop required the
analyses of the parameters for the different loops. The Primary Pumps flow rates
required the comparison also with one of the Primary Pump-independent loop in
order to see the complete behavior of the parameters under analysis. The explanation
of the difference can be found on the densities effects related to the primary
temperature increase already mentioned.

Table 6.9 summarizes the parameters plotted in the related figures for this transient.

91
Table 6.9: Parameters described for "First Steam Line blockage" transient

Operational
First Steam Line Blockage Loops analyzed
transient
1st and 2nd secondary
Figure 6.37 Steam line pressure (1 & 2 loops)
loops
Steam line pressure (N p control, 1 & 2 1st and 2nd secondary
Figure 6.38
loops) loops
Figure 6.39 Air mass flow rate (1 & 2 loops) 1st and 2nd tertiary loops
Figure 6.40 Exit air temperature (1 & 2 loops) 1st and 2nd tertiary loops
Exit air temperature (N p control, 1 & 2
Figure 6.41 1st and 2nd tertiary loops
loops)
1st (1st and 2nd PHX) and
Figure 6.42 PPs flow rate (1, 2 & 3 loops) 2nd (3rd PHX) primary
loops
1st (1st and 2nd PHX) and
Figure 6.43 PPs flow rate (N p control, 1, 2 & 3 loops) 2nd (3rd PHX) primary
loops
1st and 2nd secondary
Figure 6.44 PHX power (1 & 2 loops)
loops

First steam line blockage - Steam line pressure

18.5
pSL1
p SL2
pressure [bar]

16.5

14.5

12.5
2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 6.37: First SL blockage Steam line pressure

Figure 6.37 shows the trend of the controlled pressure for this transient: after some
oscillations related to the pressure controller parameters (i. e. gain constants, fan
inertia), the pressure reaches again the set point value. The affected loop pressure
would tend to increase (this is clearly shown in figure 6.38, where the pressure
controllers are not implemented), but the increase in air mass flow rate (figure 6.39)
92
guarantees a constancy of that parameter. The not affected loops are almost not
influenced by the transient in the case of pressure control.

First steam line blockage - Steam line pressure without


p control

18.5
pressure [Pa]

16.5

14.5 p steam line


1
p steam line
2
12.5
2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 6.38: First SL blockage Steam line pressure

In the absence of controllers (figure 6.38), the damaged loop pressure shows an
increase of almost 25% of its nominal value. Also this change is reflected in the slight
increase of the other loop pressure. For the first 300 s (i. e. the inertia of the fan), the
controlled and not controlled cases are very similar: the two cases clearly
differentiate after the pressure controller starts to play its role.

First steam line blockage - Air mass flow rate

air mass flow rate 1


air mass flow rate 2
mass flow rate [kg/s]

780

580

380
2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 6.39: First SL blockage Air mass flow

The air mass flow rate of the damaged loop reaches a value of 480 kg/s (figure 6.39)
after the oscillations are dumped. The maximum air flow rate required to bring down
the 18 bar pressure peak is ~900 kg/s. As already said, this increase is required in
order to maintain the steam pressure at the set point value.

93
First steam line blockage - Air exit T

95
temperature [C]

85

T out air 1
75
T out air 2

65
2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 7000 8000 9000 10000
time [s]

Figure 6.40: First SL blockage Exit air temperature

The decrease in the air exit temperature, shown in figure 6.40, is related to the mass
flow rate changes (figure 6.39). In particular, the steam mass flow is drastically
reduced in the first loop and this is a reason why the air side of the condenser
receives less thermal power: the temperature difference across the condenser is thus
reduced. Another contribution to this phenomenon is given by the increase in air
mass flow rate by the controller.

First steam line blockage - Air exit T without p control

96.5
temperature [C]

95.0 T out air 1

T out air 2

93.5

92.0
2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 7000 8000 9000 10000
time [s]

Figure 6.41: First SL blockage Exit air temperature

The air exit temperature in the case without pressure controllers (figure 6.41) is
qualitatively analogous to the previous case, apart from the slight increase in
temperature for the second loop. The absence of the pressure control again
compromises all the plant behavior.

94
First steam line blockage - Primary pumps flow rate

flow rate [kg/s] 3450

3446

3442 mflow PHX1


mflow PHX2
mflow PHX3
3438
2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 7000 8000 9000 10000
time [s]

Figure 6.42: First SL blockage mass flow PHX LBE

Figure 6.42 shows the LBE mass flow rates across the different PHXs. The PHX1 and
PHX2 are clearly connected through the PP1: their complementary change is related
to the density change effect (due to the change in the LBE temperatures). The other
loop is almost not dependent from the transient perturbation. This behavior can be
better understood in the case without pressure control, illustrated in the following
figure 6.43.

First steam line blockage - Primary pumps flow rate withoul


p control

3448
flow rate [kg/s]

3444

3440 mflow PHX1


mflow PHX2
mflow PHX3
3436
2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 7000 8000 9000 10000
time [s]

Figure 6.43: First SL blockage mass flow PHX LBE

In the case without controllers the LBE mass flow rates through the PHXs shown in
figure 6.43 is not reaching the original values. The difference between the first and
the secondary loop flow rates are again related to density effects: the first loop suffers
a higher increase of temperature (due to the increased pressure) which translates in a

95
lower density - so mass flow rate - reduction. To compensate this, the second PHX
receives a higher flow rate.

First steam line blockage - PHXs power exchanged


30

29
power [MW]

28

27
power
PHX1
26
power
PHX3
25
2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 6.44: First SL blockage PHX power

Figure 6.44 shows a slight increase in the first PHX power exchanged at the end of the
transient, related to the increased air mass flow rate.
As for all the other asymmetric transients analyzed, the thermal powers
exchanged are no more equally distributed in the different loops. In particular, the
affected loop exchanges more power (of the order of tenth of MW) with its higher air
flow rate (~100 kg/s higher than the other loops). This slight increase in the power
has to be related to all the changes in the loop conditions (less steam in the secondary
side, higher thermal properties of the condenser air side, etc.) that may contribute
with contrasting effects to the loop thermal power evaluation. The weighted sum of
all these phenomena is the resulting situation described above.

6.7 Start-up transient

Among the transients in which a variation of the fission power is concerned, the start-
up procedure is surely one of the most complex to be implemented. In particular it
has been necessary to simulate the behavior of the system from zero to full power
conditions in a controlled way.
First of all, a hot (200 C) "zero" power steady state condition was reached. In
order to do this, the system was coupled with the point kinetics model with a power
set point of 0.1 W (to take into consideration a minimum power transferred also at
"zero" power conditions). The power set point enters in the definition of the power
error (see chapter 3), which establishes the control rod velocity. Reaching here a null
power error, i. e. a null control rod velocity, means to have a power level of 0.1 W.

96
It must be mentioned that in order to reach a "zero" power steady state
relatively fast with respect to the transient calculation problem time, there were
necessary some changes such as the increase of the gain constants of the secondary
pressure controllers and the change in the set point values, in all the control systems.
In particular, the secondary pressure controller gains were increased by one order of
magnitude and the nominal air flow rate was decreased to 10 kg/s to fit with the low
power to be removed.
Table 6.10 summarizes some of the main parameter values at zero power level,
steady state condition.

Table 6.10 - Steady state values at 0% power

Plant Steady state (0% power)


Parameter Reference Dimensions
block value
Core mass flow rate 7687.62 7710 kg/s
Bypass mass flow rate 6030.37 6090 kg/s
LBE PHX mass flow
3429.50 3450 kg/s
rate
Total primary system
13718.0 13800 kg/s
mass flow rate
Primary
PP flow rate 6859.0 6900 kg/s
side
Inlet core temperature 199.38 200 C
Outlet core average
199.47 200 C
temperature
Outlet by-pass
199.42 200 C
temperature
Upper plenum
199.44 200 C
temperature
PHX water mass flow
41.36 47 kg/s
rate
Steam line mass flow
9.35E-02 0 kg/s
rate
Inlet water PHX
198.75 200 C
temperature
Outlet water PHX
198.96 200 C
temperature
Inlet water condenser
198.12 200 C
temperature
Inlet quality PHX -8.02E-03 Subcooled /
Secondary Exit quality PHX -4.79E-03 Subcooled /

97
side
Saturated
Inlet quality condenser 1.0 /
steam
Saturated
Exit quality condenser 3.40E-03 /
liquid
Inlet water PHX
1.62E+06 16 bar
pressure
Steam line pressure 1.4965E+06 15 bar
Inlet condenser water
1.4964E+06 14.9 bar
pressure
Air mass flow rate 1.04 1 kg/s
Tertiary
Inlet air temperature 32.0 32 C
side
Outlet air temperature 198.1 200 C

It is interesting to point out that, at hot (200 C) zero power steady state, the air exit
temperature reaches almost 200 C which is a doubled value respect to the normal
full power steady state condition (~96 C). Though apparently not coherent, this is
obviously due to the fact that, if the system does not contain any power source term,
all the loops from primary to tertiary sides are at the same temperature. This has
been considered acceptable with the hypothesis of not considering a primary system
LBE heating (with consequent power exchanges and temperature differences across
the system) through an auxiliary system.
A controlled increase in fission power is possible, changing the power set point
already inserted in the general reactivity control logics. The change in the power set
point allows the gradual increase of reactor power through the progressive extraction
of the control rod: the increase in the set point creates a power error which is always
positive (at the net of the instabilities of the system). A positive power error gives a
negative control rod velocity, which extracts the CR itself.
This power set point variation (see figure 6.45) was implemented in RELAP5 -
3D through an extensive use of variable and logical trips and control variables. In
particular the jump from one power level to the next one was performed linearly
varying the power set point in 1000 seconds.
The reason for this is clearly seen keeping in mind the control logics adopted.
The power error, which determines the velocity of the control rod through the
relative table, is much smaller if the jump is performed in several steps. This implies a
limited increase in the control rod velocity and a gradual adaptation of the reactor
power to the continuously-changing set-point, with all the positive consequences on
reactivity, period and stability of the system.
After some studies around the optimal waiting time in between two power
levels (required achieving a "temporary" steady state condition with all the plant
parameters), an arbitrary value of 8000 seconds has been chosen. Actually, a real
98
startup procedure would require a slower power increase in time and the system
needs to bring all parameters to thermal hydraulic steady state and not only the
neutronic ones, which are quite faster due to their smaller time constants. It was a
technical choice not to perform completely realistic in time calculation, but just to
show the approach followed using the control system developed. The approach
followed guarantees anyway the achievement of the main parameters steady states
(e. g. primary temperatures, secondary pressures, etc.).
All the transients performed in the "neutronic side" of the plant are symmetric.
This is the reason why only one of the cooling loops is described here, due to the
perfect coincidence of the results.
Table 6.11 summarizes the parameters plotted in the related figures for this transient

Table 6.11: Parameters described for "Startup" transient

Operational
Startup
transient

Figure 6.45 Power set point & Reactor power

Figure 6.46 CR position

Figure 6.47 Reactivity

Figure 6.48 Reactivity at low power range 1

Figure 6.49 Power at low power range 1

Figure 6.50 Power at low power range 2

Figure 6.51 T in & T out core

Figure 6.52 Steam line pressure

Figure 6.53 Inlet water T PHX

Figure 6.54 Exit air temperature

Figure 6.55 PHX exit quality

Figure 6.56 Air mass flow rate

Figure 6.57 1ary, 2ary, 3ary side powers

99
Startup - Power set point and reactor power

100

80
power [MW]

60

power set
40
point
reactor
20 power

0
0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000
time [s]

Figure 6.45: Startup - Reactor power and power set point

Figure 6.45 shows the power set point and the reactor power time trends. From this
picture one can only see the apparent perfect coincidence of the two parameters, as if
the time constants of the neutronics are so small respect with the set point variation
that the system does not show any deviation.

Startup - CR position
10

5
position [mm]

-5

-10

-15
0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000
time [s]

Figure 6.46: Startup - CR axial position

Anyway, figures 6.46 and 6.47 do not confirm this optimal trend. In fact, according to
this, the reactivity (figure 6.47) should always be nearly zero, and the control rod
position, which is decreasing due to the extraction, (figure 6.46) must follow perfect
steps (without the peaks that appear at the beginning of the transient).

100
Startup - Reactivity
0.6

0.4

reactivity [$] 0.2

-0.2

-0.4

-0.6
0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000
time [s]

Figure 6.47: Startup - Reactivity

Analyzing the situation at lower power levels, the correspondence between reactivity
peaks (figure 6.48) and power peaks (figure 6.49) becomes evident. The only reason
why figure 6.45 does not show any discrepancy is related to the huge scales into play.

Startup - Reactivity - low power range


0.6

0.4

0.2
reactivity [$]

-0.2

-0.4

-0.6
0 500 1000 1500 2000
time [s]

Figure 6.48: Startup - Reactivity, low power range 1

101
Startup - Power set point and reactor power - low power
range
12000
power set
point
9000
power [W]

reactor
power
6000

3000

0
0 500 1000 1500 2000
time [s]

Figure 6.49: Startup - Reactor power and power set point, low power range 1

Startup - Power set point and reactor power - low power


range
power set
point
300000
reactor
power
225000
power [W]

150000

75000

0
8950 9000 9050 9100 9150 9200 9250
time [s]

Figure 6.50: Startup - Reactor power and power set point, low power range 2

Figure 6.50 shows the second low power range chosen to show the power peaks.
The power controller chosen for the start up reference case is not perfectly
suitable for the beginning of the startup procedure: the sensitivity analyses described
in Chapter 7 will better explain the behavior of the controller itself.
A brief explanation in order to understand this transient could be found in the
non suitability of the high power error range given by this (reference case) power
controller for the low power error definition at low power levels.
A way to avoid this could be to normalize the power error over the different set
point values.
102
Startup - Primary core temperatures

350
T in core
T out core
310
temperature [C]

270

230

190
0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000
time [s]

Figure 6.51: Startup - Temperature inlet and outlet core

Figure 6.51 shows the trend of the LBE temperatures at the inlet and at the exit of the
core.
As for the power, also these temperatures follow the progressive increase to the
100% operating values. The exit core temperature increase is more pronounced
simply because it has to sum the core temperature difference to the ~270 C
operating inlet core temperature.

Startup - Steam line pressure


16.5

16
pressure [bar]

15.5

15

14.5

14
0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000
time [s]

Figure 6.52: Startup - Steam line pressure

103
Figure 6.52 shows the steam line pressure trend during the power increase: thanks to
the secondary pressure controller, after each power jump the pressure stabilizes to
the set point value.

The oscillations that appear while approaching the nominal power (from 25% to 75%
power range), can be justified by the fact that, in such power interval, the two phase
loops mostly lie in the slug two phase flow regime. At 100% nominal power, these
oscillations are no more present because the two phases becomes mostly annular
flow.

Startup - Water temperature inlet PHX


204

202
temperature [C]

200

198

196

194
0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000
time [s]

Figure 6.53: Startup - T in water PHX

The decrease in the water temperature at the inlet of the PHX between the zero
power and full power conditions, shown in figure 6.53, is mainly related to the
quantity of steam produced: in fact, the exit quality of PHXs passes from zero to 0.3
(see figure 6.55). This steam is then separated in the steam drum and condensed in
the condenser. When it flows back to the steam drum, it is in subcooled conditions at
a lower temperature than the SD. This means that its mixing with the water of the SD
contributes to a lowering of the average temperature. Its weighted contribution is
stronger at full power conditions when the amount of steam is increased.

104
Startup - Exit air temperature
220

200

180
temperature [C]

160

140

120

100

80
0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000
time [s]

Figure 6.54: Startup - Exit air temperature

As already mentioned in the introduction of the startup transient analysis, it is


interesting to note that the exit air temperature during the start-up procedure
decreases from ~200 C to ~96 C (see figure 6.54). This is mainly due to the fact that,
because the thermal power to be removed is increasing, the LMTD between the
secondary and tertiary sides must increase. Anyway the water temperature is fixed to
its saturation conditions (200 C) by the pressure controller, and this means that the
only direction in which LMTD can increase is related to a decrease in air exit
temperature (once fixed the inlet air temperature).

Startup - PHX exit quality


0.35

0.3

0.25

0.2

0.15
quality [/]

0.1

0.05

-0.05
0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000
time [s]

Figure 6.55: Startup - PHX exit quality

105
Figure 6.55 shows the increase in exit quality at the exit of the PHXs. Clearly, it
increases with the increase of the thermal power, presenting the same two phase flow
unstable slug regime crossing.

Startup - Air mass flow rate


500

400
mass flow rate [kg/s]

300

200

100

0
0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000
time [s]

Figure 6.56: Startup - air mass flow rate

The increase in power requires an increase in power removal from the tertiary side.
Figure 6.56 shows the increase in air mass flow (required to maintain the secondary
pressure to the set-point value and, as a consequence, causes a decrease the exit air
temperature (figure 6.54)).

Startup - Powers exchanged (1ary, 2ary, 3ary sides)


120

power exchanged
100 primary side
power exchanged
80 secondary side
power [MW]

power exchanged
tertiary side
60

40

20

0
0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000
time [s]

Figure 6.57: Startup - Cooling loops powers exchanged

106
Figure 6.57 shows the power exchanged respectively by the primary (core + by-pass),
secondary and tertiary sides. The slight discrepancy between these variables is
related to the delay (thermal inertias) of the secondary cooling system.

6.8 Shutdown

As for the start-up procedure, also the shutdown has been possible through the use of
power set points linearly changing in different time intervals.
The time elapsing between one steady state and another is the same as for the
startup transient (8000 s).
Table 6.12 summarizes the parameters plotted in the related figures for this
transient.

Table 6.12: Parameters described for "Shutdown" transient

Operational
Shutdown
transient

Figure 6.58 Power set point & Reactor power

Figure 6.59 By-pass power set point

Figure 6.60 Reactivity

Figure 6.61 CR velocity

Figure 6.62 CR position

Figure 6.63 Steam line pressure

Figure 6.64 T in & T out core

Figure 6.65 Inlet water T PHX

Figure 6.66 Exit air temperature

Figure 6.67 PHX exit quality

Figure 6.69 By-pass LBE mass flow rate

Figure 6.70 Core LBE mass flow rate

Figure 6.71 Air mass flow rate

Figure 6.72 1ary, 2ary & 3ary side powers

107
Shutdown - Reactor power and power set point
120
power
100
Set point
80 power
power [MW]

60

40

20

0
0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000
time [s]

Figure 6.58: Shutdown - Reactor power and power set - point

Figure 6.58 shows the coincidence between the reactor power and the power set
point. Due to many similarities between the startup and shutdown transients, some
observations are not repeated here as they are the same of the previous case.
When the core power stabilizes around a value of the order of MW, this value
becomes comparable to the decay heat power that, for the sake of simplicity, has been
simulated through a power table providing heat to the bypass channel and simulating
the exponential decay with its characteristic time [6.2]. The exponential trend is not
seen due to its slowness in the evolution respect to the problem time. Figure 6.59
shows the power removed by the by-pass loop plus the decay heat (starting from
~30000 s). The transient ends with a thermal power set to ~1 MW.

Shutdown - By-pass power


12

10

8
power [MW]

0
0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000
time [s]

Figure 6.59: Shutdown - Bypass power set point


108
Shutdown - Reactivity
5

-5
reactivity [$]

-10

-15

-20

-25
0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000
time [s]

Figure 6.60: Shutdown - reactivity

During the shutdown procedure, the reactivity gradually passes from zero to a
negative value (figure 6.60). The final value is given by the neutronic design of the
system.

Shutdown - CR velocity

0.00035

0.00025
velocity [m/s]

0.00015

0.00005

-0.00005

-0.00015
0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000
time [s]

Figure 6.61: Shutdown - CR velocity

The CR velocity parameter (figure 6.61) is related to the table explained in the control
logics.

109
Shutdown - CR position
0.6
0.5
position [m] 0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1
0.0
-0.1
0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000
time [s]

Figure 6.62: Shutdown - CR position

The gradual CR insertion (figure 6.62) guarantees the shutdown of the system,
namely the value of the reactor power approaching to zero (figure 6.58).

Shutdown - Steam line pressure


15.2

15.0
pressure [bar]

14.8

14.6

14.4

14.2
0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000
time [s]

Figure 6.63: Shutdown - Steam line pressure

The steam pressure would tend to decrease in value because the thermal power is
decreasing. As can be seen in figure 6.63, it is instead maintained constant between
one power step and another. This is performed through the pressure controller,
which causes the air flow rate decrease (Figure 6.70).

110
Shutdown - LBE core temperatures
380
T inlet core
temperature [C] 330
T exit core

280

230

180
0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000
time [s]

Figure 6.64: Shutdown - LBE inlet and outlet core temperatures

As for the start-up procedure, also in the shutdown transient, the LBE inlet and exit
core temperatures follow the power set point trend. Figure 6.64 shows these primary
temperature trends.

Shutdown - PHX inlet water T


199.0

198.5
temperature [C]

198.0

197.5

197.0

196.5

196.0
0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000
time [s]

Figure 6.65: Shutdown - Tin PHX water side

As for the start-up procedure, the slight increase in the temperature of the secondary
water (figure 6.65) is related to the decreasing amount of steam produced (figure
6.67). The observations made for the startup transient are valid also here, with the
reverse sign of the parameter changes.

111
Shutdown - Air exit T
200

180
temperature [C]
160

140

120

100

80
0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000
time [s]

Figure 6.66: Shutdown - outlet temperature air

The increase in the air temperature is related, as explained before, to the decrease of
thermal power produced. The pressure controller maintains the secondary pressure
to the set-point value and the power decrease through the air outlet temperature
increase expresses, in the opposite sense, the already described phenomenon in
which the LMTD is changing (decreasing in this case) according to the power level
condition. Figure 6.66 shows the exit air temperature trend.

Shutdown - PHX exit quality


0.3

0.25

0.2
quality [/]

0.15

0.1

0.05

-0.05
0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000
time [s]

Figure 6.67: Shutdown - PHX exit quality

Also in the case of shutdown, the crossing of the slug two phase flow regime is
reflected in oscillations of PHX exit quality, as illustrated in figure 6.67. At the
beginning of the transient, the two phase flow is mostly in annular conditions; after
112
that it crosses the slug flow regime (which is unstable), to become again stable in the
bubbly flow regime. Figure 6.68 shows the two phase flow regimes for a heated
channel with subcooling conditions at its entrance.

Figure 6.68: Flow regimes in a two phase flow heated channel

Shutdown - LBE by-pass mass flow rate


6036

6032
mass flow rate [kg/s]

6028

6024

6020

6016
0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000
time [s]

Figure 6.69: Shutdown - by pass flow rate

113
The by-pass flow rate (figure 6.69) follows a trend which seems not coherent with the
one of the core (fig. 6.70) if only the power decrease is considered. Its increase is
instead related to density effects (decrease in temperature) and redistribution of
pressure drops along the channel. In particular, the core temperature decrease is
almost ten times higher than the one in the by-pass loop.

Shutdown - LBE core mass flow rate


7780

7760
mass flow rate [kg/s]

7740

7720

7700

7680
0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000
time [s]

Figure 6.70: Shutdown - Core mass flow rate

Shutdown - Air mass flow rate


500

400
mass flow rate [kg/s]

300

200

100

0
0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000
time [s]

Figure 6.71: Shutdown - Air mass flow rate

The progressive decrease in the air mass flow rate (figure 6.71) is required by the
pressure controller in order not to let the secondary pressure decrease. Figure 6.72
shows the power removed by the cooling systems from 110 MW to 1 MW.

114
Shutdown - 1ary, 2ary and 3ary sides powers
exchanged
120
power exchanged
100 primary side
power exchanged
80 secondary side
power [MW]

power exchanged
60 tertiary side

40

20

0
0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000
time [s]

Figure 6.72: Shutdown - heat exchanged powers

6.9 Power ramp 80% 100%

This transient describes a power ramp from 80% to 100% power. As MYRRHA facility
will be a Material Testing Reactor (MTR), it is useful to analyze this kind of
operational transients: many experiments may require changing the power level in
order to see the effects of neutron flux variations on the materials. Primary
temperatures are changing according to the curve shown in chapter 3 (figure 3.7),
where the relation with the reactor thermal power is expressed. After having reached
a steady state condition around 80% power, the power set point has been linearly
increased during a time interval of 150 seconds until 100% power. The power ramp
is here compared with a power step in which the power set point, instead of linearly
varying, is digitally changed from one time step to the subsequent one. As can be
noted from the graphs 6.73, 6.74, 6.75 and 6.76, the reactivity change, the inverse
reactor period and the other main neutronic parameters are bound in a narrower
range of variation in the case of progressive ramp, which is positive for the stability of
the system itself. Table 6.13 summarizes the parameters plotted in the related figures
for this transient.

Table 6.13: Parameters described for "80% 100% Power ramp vs. step" transient

Operational
transient 80% 100% Power ramp vs. step
Figure 6.73 Reactivity
Figure 6.74 Reactor power
Figure 6.75 CR velocity
Figure 6.76 CR position

115
80% --> 100% Power ramp vs. step - Reactivity

0.10

reactivity_ramp
reactivity [$]

0.06 reactivity_step

0.02

-0.02
400 500 600 700 800 900
time [s]

Figure 6.73: 80% 100% Power ramp vs. step: Reactivity

Figure 6.73 shows the limited increase in reactivity related to the power ramp, which
is one order of magnitude smaller than the case of the power set-point step.

80% --> 100% Power ramp vs. step - Reactor power


105

95
power [MW]

85
power_ramp

power_step

75
400 500 600 700 800
time [s]

Figure 6.74: 80% 100% Power ramp vs. step: Power

The case of the power step in figure 6.74 shows a power overshoot when reaching the
full power.

116
80% --> 100% Power ramp vs. step - CR velocity
0.0003

velocity [m/s] 0.0000

-0.0003

-0.0006
CR vel_ramp

-0.0009
CR vel_step

-0.0012
450 500 550 600 650 700 750
time [s]

Figure 6.75: 80% 100% Power ramp vs. step: CR velocity

As a consequence of the fast power error change, a strong control rod velocity
variation can be seen in figure 6.75 for the case of power set-point step.

80% --> 100% Power ramp vs. step - CR position


-0.008

-0.009 CR pos_ramp
position [m]

CR pos_step
-0.010

-0.011

-0.012
0 500 1000 1500
time [s]

Figure 6.76: 80% 100% Power ramp vs. step: CR position

Figure 6.76 reflects the sudden change in the control rod position, caused by the
velocity change shown before, compared with the smoother extraction in case of a
progressively variable power set-point.
As can be seen from the figures above, the steady state values are the same in
both cases: what changes is the way in which the transient evolves.

117
6.10 Power ramp 100% 80%

As done for the previous increasing power ramp, also in this case, the utility of
simulating such a transient should be related to the material testing aim of MYRRHA
facility.
A reverse power ramp has been considered from a 100% power steady state
condition. Also in this case, the comparison with the power step is available as a
demonstration of the correct implementation of the shutdown procedure.
Table 6.14 summarizes the parameters plotted in the related figures for this
transient.

Table 6.14: Parameters described for "100% 80% Power ramp vs. step" transient

Operational
transient 100% 80% Power ramp vs. step
Figure 6.77 Reactivity
Figure 6.78 Reactor power
Figure 6.79 CR velocity

100% --> 80% Power ramp vs. step - Reactivity

-0.015
reactivity [$]

-0.045

-0.075
reactivity_step
-0.105 reactivity_ramp

-0.135
570 670 770 870
time [s]

Figure 6.77: 100% 80% Power ramp vs. step: reactivity

118
100% --> 80% Power ramp vs. step - Reactor power
105

100
power_step
power[MW] 95 power_ramp
90

85

80

75
450 500 550 600 650 700 750 800
time [s]

Figure 6.78: 100% 80% Power ramp vs. step: power

100% --> 80% Power ramp vs. step - CR velocity

0.0010

0.0008 CR vel_step
velocity [m/s]

0.0006 CR vel_ramp

0.0004

0.0002

0.0000

-0.0002
570 620 670 720
time [s]

Figure 6.79: 100% 80% Power ramp vs. step: CR velocity

From figures 6.77, 6.78 and 6.79 is possible to draw the same conclusions of the
previous transient analyzed.
In particular for this case, the variation of neutronic parameters, such as the
reactivity induced by the transient, is less critical compared to an increasing power
ramp, due to the decrease of thermal power. Anyway, a gradual change in the plant
conditions is always required in order to keep the stability of the system.

119
7 Results of sensitivity analyses

Sensitivity analyses have been performed only for a selected number of transients, on
the basis of the parameters chosen for the controllers' tuning. The value of such a
sensitivity analysis, at the state of the art of MYRRHA controller design and
implementation, is related to both the understanding and optimization of the
controller action on the system. In particular the R&D approach followed for the
design of the MYRRHA facility, offers the advantage to apply technical choices made
during the design phase that can change according to the evolution of the studies.
This study somehow represents a new frontier in the framework of dedicated control
system performance. It has been chosen to analyze three representative transients
among the list of calculations performed and described in chapter 6: one on the
secondary side and asymmetric with respect to the four cooling loops, one on the
tertiary side with a perturbation equally distributed over the air loops of the plant,
and one on the primary side, in particular on the fission power source, symmetric by
definition (the control rods are treated as only one lumped absorber). The diversity
among these transients allowed extrapolating the controller parameters behavior
over the main range of action of the controllers themselves. The three transients are
listed below:
- Single Steam Line partial blockage
- Decrease of inlet air temperature from 32 C to -8 C
- Startup
The parameters chosen for the sensitivity analyses can be divided in two main
groups, according to the two controllers implemented in the RELAP5 - 3D model; in
particular the first two transients analyzed are based on the following table 7.1, in
which three parameters related to the secondary pressure controller are changing,
assuming arbitrary values around the "best estimate" case:
- Pressure control lag, i. e. the fan inertia
- Proportional gain constant of the pressure PI controller
- Integral gain constant of the pressure PI controller
Table 7.1 - Matrix used for the sensitivity analyses on the pressure controller
CASE N LAG [s] Kp Ki
CASE 0 300 -0.001648 -5.77E-06
CASE 1 150 -0.001648 -5.77E-06
CASE 2 600 -0.001648 -5.77E-06
CASE 3 300 0.0001648 -5.77E-06
CASE 4 300 -0.1648 -5.77E-06
CASE 5 300 -0.001648 -5.77E-05
CASE 6 300 -0.001648 -5.77E-07

In order to clearly understand the impact of each single parameter on the transient
evolution, it was chosen to vary only one parameter at a time, thus resulting in the
matrix above. The parameter changed in each case is marked in red. The third
transient analyzed in this sensitivity study is the startup procedure, in which both the
120
controllers implemented have been subjected to the study. In particular the control
rod system test was performed changing the control rod velocity table, while the
secondary pressure controller test was performed around two fan lag values, two
proportional gain constant values and two integral gain constant values. The table
which shows the sensitivity matrix for the startup procedure is reported in the
relative paragraph 7.3.

7.1 Single steam line partial blockage sensitivity

Table 7.2 summarizes the figures shown for the steam line blockage sensitivity
analysis. As already extensively discussed in Chapter 6, this transient consists in the
partial blockage (80% flow area reduction) of one out of four steam lines. As can be
seen from the table, the same parameter is always shown in two different loops,
namely the affected one and the third one (independent from the first one from the
point of view of primary side thermal - hydraulics coupling through the two different
primary pumps). This is related to the asymmetry of the problem already explained in
Chapter 6.
Table 7.2 - First steam line blockage sensitivity analysis results

Figure First steam line blockage


Steam line pressure
7.1 case 0 case 1 case 2 Loop 1
7.2 case 0 case 1 case 2 Loop 3
7.3 case 0 case 3 case 4 Loop 1
7.4 case 0 case 3 case 4 Loop 3
7.5 case 0 case 5 case 6 Loop 1
7.6 case 0 case 5 case 6 Loop 3
Exit air temperature
7.7 case 0 case 1 case 2 Loop 1
7.8 case 0 case 1 case 2 Loop 3
7.9 case 0 case 3 case 4 Loop 1
7.10 case 0 case 3 case 4 Loop 3
7.11 case 0 case 5 case 6 Loop 1
7.12 case 0 case 5 case 6 Loop 3
Air mass flow rate
7.13 case 0 case 1 case 2 Loop 1
7.14 case 0 case 1 case 2 Loop 3
7.15 case 0 case 3 case 4 Loop 1
7.16 case 0 case 3 case 4 Loop 3
7.17 case 0 case 5 case 6 Loop 1
7.18 case 0 case 5 case 6 Loop 3

121
In the following graphs, the reference case, which is the same best estimate case
analyzed in the relative paragraph of chapter 6, is compared with the particular cases:
first of all, the action of the fan lag (cases 1 & 2), then of the KP (cases 3 & 4) and
finally of the KI (cases 5 & 6) are compared. The comparison has been made for all the
important parameters. In this "asymmetric case", each parameter is plotted both for
the first and for the third loop in order to see the differences among the affected and
normal loops.

Steam line blockage sensitivity - Steam Line pressure


(1st loop) - LAG
19
18
17
pressure [bar]

16
15 pSL1_case0

14 pSL1_case1

13 pSL1_case2

12
11
2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 7000 8000 9000 10000
time [s]

Figure 7.1: SL blockage - First steam line pressure, LAG sensitivity

Steam line blockage sensitivity - Steam Line pressure


(3rd loop) - LAG
15.20
15.15
15.10
pressure [bar]

15.05
15.00 pS2_case0
14.95 pS2_case1
14.90 pS2_case2
14.85
14.80
2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 7.2: SL blockage - Third steam line pressure, LAG sensitivity

As can be seen from figures 7.1 and 7.2, the bigger the lag value, the slower the
system is to reach the set point value. The entity of the variation is obviously greater

122
in the case of the affected steam line, but the qualitative behavior is the same in both
cases.

Steam line blockage sensitivity - Steam Line pressure


(1st loop) - KP
19
18
17
pressure [bar]

16
15 pSL1_case0
14 pSL1_case3
13 pSL1_case4
12
11
2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 7000 8000 9000
time [s]

Figure 7.3: SL blockage - First steam line pressure, KP sensitivity

Steam line blockage sensitivity - Steam Line pressure


(3rd loop) - KP
15.3
15.2
15.1
pressure [bar]

15.0
14.9 pS2_case0
14.8 pS2_case3
14.7 pS2_case4
14.6
14.5
2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 7000 8000 9000
time [s]

Figure 7.4: SL blockage - Third steam line pressure, KP sensitivity

Figures 7.3 and 7.4 show the pressure trends in the case of variation of the
proportional gain constant of the secondary pressure PI controller. A very small
constant (case 3) shows great oscillations of the system which seems not to converge
to the set point value. Instead a large proportional gain constant (case 4) is giving
permanent oscillations in the affected steam line: the controller acts energetically to
bring the pressure to the set-point value but its action is too strong that it does not

123
stop. In the case of the lag, the critical14 value chosen (green line) would damp after
its characteristic time, while for the proportional gain constant (violet line) the
oscillations will diverge (this is related to the particular quantitative values used).
The maximum KP value for which the system does not diverge (in this particular
transient) can be found iteratively changing the gain constant values.
In this case, also the presence of a "dead band" for the controller nearby the set
point value could be a solution to break down these oscillations. In the calculations
performed, no dead band has been implemented.

Steam line blockage sensitivity - Steam line pressure


(1st loop) - KI
24

20
pressure [bar]

p SL1_case0
16
pSL1_case5
p SL1_case6
12

8
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 7.5: SL blockage - First steam line pressure, KI sensitivity

Steam line blockage - Steam line pressure (3rd loop) - KI


15.1

15.0
pressure [bar]

14.9
pSL3_case0
p SL 3_case5
14.8
p SL 3_case6

14.7

14.6
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 7.6: SL blockage - Third steam line pressure, KI sensitivity

14
In this context the attribute "critical" refers to the value that, among the one chosen for the analysis, gives
the greatest oscillations.
124
In the case of the integral gain constant change - figures 7.5 and 7.6 - a too high gain
constant (one order of magnitude bigger than the one used in the reference case) is
leading the system to diverge. This means that the integral action is so strong that it
causes the present value not only to overshoot the set-point value, but also to make
the system diverging. For this transient, the smaller is the integral gain constant, the
better the system behaves (smaller overshooting, faster convergence). This is a
different result respect to the other controller parameters in which the optimal value
was in between the extreme values tested.
The oscillations that can be seen in the first 2000 seconds of figure 7.6 are
related to the fact that the gain constants are changed since the beginning of the
calculation, while the transients starts only at 3500 seconds. These oscillations are
present only if there is a pressure error: at regime conditions this error should be
ideally zero, while instead it is of the order of Pa. Multiplying this small error by the
different gain constants results in some initial oscillations. Again, a dead band around
the set point value could be the solution even to this "steady state" problem.

Steam line blockage sensitivity - Exit air temperature


(1st loop) - LAG
100
95
90
temperature [C]

85
80
75
Toutair1_case0
70
Toutair1_case1
65
Toutair1_case2
60
2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 7.7: SL blockage - First exit air temperature, LAG sensitivity

125
Steam line blockage sensitivity - Exit air
temperature (3rd loop) - LAG
96
Toutair3_case0
95.9
Toutair3_case1
temperature [C]

95.8 Toutair3_case2

95.7

95.6

95.5

95.4
2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 7.8: SL blockage - Third exit air temperature, LAG sensitivity

Steam line blockage sensitivity - Exit air temperature (1st


loop) - KP
95

85
temperature [C]

75
Toutair1_case3

65 Toutair1_case4
Toutair1_case0
55

45
2000 4000 6000 8000
time [s]

Figure 7.9: SL blockage - First exit air temperature, KP sensitivity

126
Steam line blockage sensitivity - Exit air temperature
(3rd loop)- KP
97

96.5

96
temperature [C]

95.5 Toutair3_case3
Toutair3_case4
95 Toutair3_case0

94.5

94
2000 4000 6000 8000
time [s]

Figure 7.10: SL blockage - Third exit air temperature, KP sensitivity

Steam line blockage - Exit air temperature (1st loop) - KI


140

120

100
temperature [C]

80
T out air1_case0
60
T out air1_case5
40 T out air1_case6

20

0
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 7.11: SL blockage - First exit air temperature, KI sensitivity

127
Steam line blockage - Exit air temperature (3rd loop) - KI
96.4

96.0
temperature [C]

95.6
T out air3_case0
95.2 T out air3_case5
T out air3_case6
94.8

94.4
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 7.12: SL blockage - Third exit air temperature, KI sensitivity

For the exit air temperature trends the figures above show that the new steady state
values (for the calculations that reached a steady state) are clearly in agreement with
the reference case: in fact the exit air temperature decrease in the affected loop, as
already explained in the dedicated paragraph of chapter 6, is related to the pressure
error in the blocked steam line, which causes an increase in the air mass flow rate
(figures below).
This steady state value is fast reached or through a small fan inertia (figures 7.7
and 7.8, case1) or through a small integral constant (figure 7.11 and 7.12, case 6).
Also a high proportional constant would give a fast convergence (7.9 and 7.10) if
permanent oscillations (7.9) would not have been present. This is the negative aspect
related to too high gains in the case of proportional controllers (chapter 3).
On the other hand, too small proportional constants and too high integral
constants bring the system to diverge (figures 7.9 and 7.10, case 3, figures 7.11 and
7.12, case 5, respectively).

128
Steam line blockage sensitivity - Air mass flow rate (1st
loop) - LAG

900

800
mass flow rate [kg/s]

700
mflowair1_case0
600
mflowair1_case1
500
mflowair1_case2
400

300
2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 7.13: SL blockage - First air mass flow rate, LAG sensitivity

Steam line blockage sensitivity - Air mass flow rate (3rd


loop) - LAG
415

413
mass flow rate [kg/s]

411
mflowair3_case0
409 mflow air 3_case1
mflow air3_case2
407

405
2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 7.14: SL blockage - Third air mass flow rate, LAG sensitivity

129
Steam line blockage sensitivity - Air mass flow rate (1st
loop) - KP
mass flow rate [kg/s] 2300

1800

1300 mflowair1_case0
mflow air 1_case3
mflow air1_case4
800

300
2000 4000 6000 8000
time [s]

Figure 7.15: SL blockage - First air mass flow rate, KP sensitivity

Steam line blockage sensitivity - Air mass flow rate (3rd


loop) - KP
435

430
mass flow rate [kg/s]

425

420
mflowair3_case0
415
mflow air 3_case3
410 mflow air3_case4

405

400
2000 4000 6000 8000
time [s]

Figure 7.16: SL blockage - Third air mass flow rate, KP sensitivity

130
Steam line blockage - Air mass flow rate (1st loop) - KI
6000

5000
mass flow rate [kg/s]

4000

3000 mflow air1_case0


mflow air1_case5
2000
mflow air_case6
1000

0
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 7.17: SL blockage - First air mass flow rate, KI sensitivity

Steam line blockage - Air mass flow rate (3rd loop) - KI


435

430
mass flow rate [kg/s]

425

420
mflow air3_case0
415
mflow air3_case5
410 mflow air3_case6

405

400
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 7.18: SL blockage - Third air mass flow rate, KI sensitivity

The figures presented for the air mass flow rate (from 7.13 to 7.18), confirm the
conclusions drawn in the case of the steam line pressures and exit air temperatures.
The new steady state values, in the case in which the calculation reaches a
convergence, are higher in the affected loop, compared with the conditions before the
transient beginning. This is clearly due to the reasons explained extensively in
chapter 6: the system needs higher air flow in order to bring to zero the pressure
error.
The cases that do not reach convergence are obviously the same as for the other
parameters analyzed (the system divergence is a global matter of fact).
131
The not affected (third) loop parameters, even if slightly changing, are anyway
showing almost the same qualitative oscillations of the affected loop: this is a good
property related to the linearity of the controller in the range of input data given by
that transient.

7.2 Inlet air temperature decrease sensitivity

As already explained in chapter 6, this transient is characterized by a homogeneous


decrease in the inlet air temperature of 40 C in one hour. Due to the increased heat
removal from the tertiary side, the power unbalance would bring to a secondary side
depressurization if the pressure controller would have not played its role. Instead,
through an air flow rate decrease, the pressure is maintained to its set point value.
Due to the symmetry of the problem, the parameters represented refer only to one of
the four cooling loops that are perfectly symmetric.
The duration of the perturbation is 3600 s, so, in order to evaluate the controller
suitability in bringing the water system back to its pressure value, such time range
has not to be considered. During this time range instead, the capacity of the controller
to follow a mutable condition can be evaluated.
In this second case of sensitivity analysis, also the water mass flow rate at the
entrance of the PHX has been object of comparison.

Table 7.3 - Decrease of inlet air temperature sensitivity analysis results

Figure Decrease inlet air T


Steam line pressure
7.19 case 0 case 1 case 2
7.20 case 0 case 3 case 4
7.21 case 0 case 5 case 6
Exit air temperature
7.22 case 0 case 1 case 2
7.23 case 0 case 3 case 4
7.24 case 0 case 5 case 6
Water mass flow rate PHX
7.25 case 0 case 1 case 2
7.26 case 0 case 3 case 4
7.27 case 0 case 5 case 6
Air mass flow rate
7.28 case 0 case 1 case 2
7.29 case 0 case 3 case 4
7.30 case 0 case 5 case 6

132
Decrease in inlet air T- First Steam Line pressure - LAG
15.2

15.0

14.8
Pressure (bar)

Case 0
14.6
Case 1
14.4 Case 2

14.2

14.0
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
Time (s)

Figure 7.19: Inlet air T decrease - Steam line pressure, LAG sensitivity

Decrease in inlet air T - First Steam Line pressure - KP


15.4

15.2

15.0
Pressure (bar)

14.8
Case 0
14.6 Case 3
Case 4
14.4

14.2

14.0
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
Time (s)

Figure 7.20: Inlet air T decrease - Steam line pressure, KP sensitivity

133
Decrease inlet air temperature sensitivity - First steam line
pressure - KI
16

15
pressure [bar]

14 p SL 1_case0
p SL 1_case5
13 p SL 1_case6

12
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 7.21: Inlet air T decrease - Steam line pressure, KI sensitivity

Figures 7.19, 7.20 and 7.21 show the steam line pressure trends (first loop which has
a coincident behavior with the others).
The lag parameter has an influence on the time in which the system reaches the
set point value (figure 7.19). The smaller is the delay of the system to follow the plant
condition, the better is. The lag parameter, more than a choice, is an intrinsic property
of the fan component, which should be accepted in relation to its general
performance.
Figure 7.20 is referred to the proportional constant which for this transient is
behaving better than for the steam line blockage transient. In fact, the green curve
instantaneously reaches the set point value without steady state permanent
oscillations.
The integral gain constant behavior shows that a too small value for the
parameter is delaying the system response (green curve in figure 7.21), while a high
value for this transient gives good results in terms of controlled pressure.
It can be already observed that the same values of gain constants behave
differently from one transient to another, in particular the system can diverge in
some cases, while in others it converges quickly (e. g. in the case of the integral
constant). In this transient for example, the smaller proportional gain constant does
not bring the system to diverge (differently from the previous case); at the same time,
the bigger integral constant behaves the best. The reason can be found in the time
constants of the transients analyzed, which are obviously bigger in this second case.
The steam line partial blockage, being somehow instantaneous, does not give the time
to some controllers (e. g. the one with high integral action), to follow the
perturbation.

134
Decrease in inlet air T - Exit air temperature - LAG
100

95

90
Temperature (C)

85
Case 0
80
Case 1
75
Case 2
70

65
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
Time (s)

Figure 7.22: Inlet air T decrease - Exit air temperature, LAG sensitivity

Decrease in inlet air T - Exit air temperature - KP


100

95

90
Temperature (C)

85
Case 0
80 Case 3
Case 4
75

70

65
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
Time (s)

Figure 7.23: Inlet air T decrease - Exit air temperature, KP sensitivity

135
Decrease inlet air temperature sensitivity - Exit air
temperature - KI
100

95

90
temperature [C]

85
T out air 1_case0
80
T out air 1_case5
75 T out air 1_case6

70

65
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 7.24: Inlet air T decrease - Exit air temperature, KI sensitivity

The exit air temperature time evolution is not so much influenced by the values of the
controller parameters as can be seen in figures 7.22, 7.23 and 7.24. The results shown
confirm the controllers action on the system (also in this case the highest integral
action gives the best performance).

Decrease in inlet air T - PHX water flow rate - LAG


48

47.5
Mass flow rate (kg/s)

47

Case 0
46.5
Case 1

46 Case 2

45.5

45
0 2000 4000 Time (s) 6000 8000 10000

Figure 7.25: Inlet air T decrease - PHX water mass flow rate, LAG sensitivity

136
Decrease in inlet air T - PHX water flow rate - KP
48

47.5
Mass flow rate (kg/s)

47

Case 0
46.5
Case 3
Case 4
46

45.5

45
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
Time (s)

Figure 7.26: Inlet air T decrease - PHX water mass flow rate, KP sensitivity

Decrease inlet air temperature sensitivity - PHX water mass


flow rate - KI
48

48
mass flow rate [kg/s]

47

47 mflow w PHX1_case0
mflow w PHX1_case5
46 mflow w PHX1_case6

46

45
0 2500 5000 7500 10000
time [s]

Figure 7.27: Inlet air T decrease - PHX water mass flow rate, KI sensitivity

The water mass flow rate at the entrance of the PHX is behaving similarly to the
secondary pressure, as shown in figures 7.25, 7.26 and 7.27. The relation between the
two parameters (pressure and flow rate) is connected through two phase flow
correlations.

137
Decrease in inlet air T - Air mass flow rate - LAG
324

322
Mass flow rate (kg/s)

320

318 Case 0
Case 1
316
Case 2
314

312

310
3000 4000 5000 6000
Time (s)7000 8000 9000 10000

Figure 7.28: Inlet air T decrease - Air mass flow rate, LAG sensitivity

Decrease in inlet air T - Air mass flow rate - KP


420

400
Mass flow rate (kg/s)

380

Case 0
360
Case 3
Case 4
340

320

300
0 2000 4000 Time (s) 6000 8000 10000

Figure 7.29: Inlet air T decrease - Air mass flow rate, KP sensitivity

138
Decrease inlet air temperature sensitivity - Air mass flow rate -
KI
420

400
mass flow rate [kg/s]

380

360 mflow air 1_case0


mflow air 1_case5
340
mflow air 1_case6

320

300
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 7.30: Inlet air T decrease - Air mass flow rate, KI sensitivity

Also the air mass flow rate presents a slight dependence on the gain constants and lag
values (figures 7.28, 7.29 and 7.30).
The analysis of this transient has shown that for not critical transient plant
conditions (in the sense that the parameters values remains inside an acceptable
range of variation), the strength of a controller is contributing to bring the system to
the desired condition.
For the transient events in which the situation is closer to an accidental
condition, a strong controller action means having a more unstable system. In fact, in
such conditions, the non linearities of the system are hardly followed by a controller,
which, by definition, acts on a linearized system.

7.3 Start-up sensitivity

As already mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, the sensitivity performed for
the start-up transient concerned both the reactivity control system and the secondary
pressure control. In fact, during startup procedure, the extraction of the control rods
through the power servomechanism allows the gradual increase from 0% to 100%
reactor power. The secondary system pressure is maintained constant in all the
power range through the pressure control system.
In fact, as demonstrated by the results, while the changes in the secondary and
tertiary systems only slightly affect the behavior of the neutronic system, a change in
the core power parameters is strongly felt from the heat removal systems.

139
This can be explained by the time constants of the different blocks, which are small
(of the order of seconds) for the neutronics and relatively longer (until several
minutes) for the thermal hydraulics part.

Table 7.4 - Matrix used for the sensitivity analyses on the control rod system + pressure
controller

CALC. N TABLE CR VELOCITY LAG [s] Kp


Power error CR velocity m/s
-1 MW -0.00133
CASE 0 (REF.) -1 kW -8.33E-05 300 -0.01648
1 kW 8.33E-05
1 MW 0.00133
Power error CR velocity m/s
-10 kW -0.00133
CASE 1 - 0.1 kW -8.33E-05 300 -0.01648
0.1 kW 8.33E-05
10 kW 0.00133
Power error CR velocity m/s
-0.1 kW -0.00133
CASE 2 -1 W -8.33E-05 300 -0.01648
1W 8.33E-05
0.1 kW 0.00133
Power error CR velocity m/s
-100 MW -0.00133
CASE 3 -10 kW -8.33E-05 300 -0.01648
10 kW 8.33E-05
100 MW 0.00133
CASE 4 CASE 0 600 -0.01648
CASE 5 CASE 0 100 -0.01648
CASE 6 CASE 0 300 0.0001648
CASE 7 CASE 0 300 -0.1648

Table 7.5 Startup sensitivity analysis results

Figure Startup
7.31 Power SP + Reactor power case 0 - 1 - 2 - 3
7.32 Power SP + RP_low power1 case 0 - 1 - 2 - 3
7.33 Power SP + RP_low power2 case 0 - 1 - 2 - 3
7.34 Power SP + RP_low power3 case 0 - 1 - 2 - 3
7.35 Power SP + RP_high power1 case 0 - 1 - 2 - 3
7.36 Power SP + RP_high power2 case 0 - 1 - 2 - 3
7.37 Reactivity case 0 - 1 - 2 - 3
7.38 Reactivity_low power case 0 - 1 - 2 - 3
7.39 Reactivity_high power case 0 - 1 - 2 - 3
7.40 CR velocity_low power case 0 - 1 - 2 - 3

140
7.41 CR position case 0 - 1 - 2 - 3
7.42 CR position_low power case 0 - 1 - 2 - 3
7.43 SL pressure case 0 - 1 - 2 - 3
7.44 SL pressure case 0 - 4 - 5
7.45 SL pressure case 0 - 6 - 7
7.46 Exit air temperature case 0 - 4 - 5
7.47 Exit air temperature case 0 - 6 - 7
7.48 Air mass flow rate case 0 - 4 - 5
7.49 Air mass flow rate case 0 - 6 - 7
7.50 Air mass flow rate_low power case 0 - 6 - 7

Startup sensitivity - Power set point and reactor power - CR


sys
120

100

80
reactor power_case0
power [MW]

reactor power_case1
60
reactor power_case2
reactor power_case3
40
Power set point

20

0
0 20000 40000 60000
time [s]

Figure 7.31: Startup - Reactor power and power set point, CR velocity sensitivity

Figure 7.31 shows the time trend of the reactor power rise performed through
different control rod controllers. The power range is too broad to perceive the quality
of each controller, and this is the reason why some more detailed figures are
presented below, namely at low and high power ranges.

141
Startup sensitivity - power set point and reactor power (low
power range) - CR sys

12000

10000

8000 reactor power_case0


power [W]

reactor power_case1
6000
reactor power_case2
4000 reactor power_case3
Power set point
2000

0
500 700 900 1100 1300 1500 1700 1900
time [s]

Figure 7.32: startup - Reactor power and power set point, low power range 1, CR velocity
sensitivity

Startup sensitivity - power set point and reactor power (low power
range) - CR sys

12000

10000

8000 reactor power_case0


power [W]

reactor power_case1
6000
reactor power_case2

4000 reactor power_case3


Power set point
2000

0
500 1500 2500 3500 4500 5500 6500 7500 8500
time [s]

Figure 7.33: startup - Reactor power and power set point, low power range 2, CR velocity
sensitivity

142
Startup sensitivity - power set point and reactor power (low
power range) - CR sys

1400000

1200000

1000000
reactor power_case0
power [W]

800000 reactor power_case1


600000 reactor power_case2

400000 reactor power_case3


Power set point
200000

0
8500 9000 9500 10000 10500 11000 11500
time [s]

Figure 7.34: Startup - Reactor power and power set point, low power range 3, CR velocity
sensitivity

Figures 7.32, 7.33 and 7.34 show the trend of reactor power at low power ranges: in
particular, it can be seen that the cases 0 and 3 (the high power error definition, see
table 7.4), are not suitable in this low power range. This is mainly due to the fact that
the power error sensed by the controller in the cases 0 and 3 is too high in these low
power regimes, so that the velocity of the control rod established by the controller is
practically zero and the power does not follow the set point values. On the other
hand, the controllers used in case 1 and case 2 are fast and accurate in following the
set point at the start-up beginning. At the very low powers, case 0 controller does not
work properly and case 3 even worse: the oscillations shown by case 3 are other
signs of its inaccuracy in that regime.
Increasing the power (Figure 7.34), the controller used in case 0 already starts
to behave better, while the ones in cases 1 and 2 begin to show a certain degree of
worsening in their performances, mainly represented by oscillations around the
power set point value.

143
Startup sensitivity - Power set point and reactor power (high power
range) - CR sys
105

100

95
power [MW]

90 reactor power_case0
reactor power_case1
85 reactor power_case2
reactor power_case3
80
Power set point

75

70
50000 52000 54000 56000 58000 60000
time [s]

Figure 7.35: Startup - Reactor power and power set point, high power range 1, CR velocity
sensitivity

Startup sensitivity - Power set point and reactor power (high power
range) - CR sys
102

100

98

96 reactor power_case0
power [MW]

reactor power_case1
94
reactor power_case2
92 reactor power_case3
Power set point
90

88

86
54500 54700 54900 55100 55300 55500
time [s]

144
Figure 7.36: Startup - Reactor power and power set point, high power range 2, CR velocity
sensitivity

Figures 7.35 and 7.36 are instead demonstrating that at high power levels the
situation is reversed: the definition of the power error of the order of MW or
hundreds of MW gives a velocity of the control rod suitable to follow at each time step
the power set point change. On the contrary, the controllers that were good for the
low powers are now giving permanent oscillations (as a too high proportional gain
constant would do).
A possible way to cope with the different controller set points required
according to the different power levels could consist in defining the power error as a
normalized value over the set point change.

Startup sensitivity - Reactivity - CR sys


0.8
reactivity_case0
0.6
reactivity_case1
0.4 reactivity_case2
reactivity_case3
reactivity [$]

0.2

0.0

-0.2

-0.4

-0.6
0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000
time [s]

Figure 7.37: Startup - Reactivity, CR velocity sensitivity

145
Startup sensitivity - Reactivity (low power range) - CR sys
0.8

0.6

0.4
reactivity [$]

0.2
reactivity_case0
0.0 reactivity_case1
reactivity_case2
-0.2
reactivity_case3
-0.4

-0.6
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 7.38: Startup - Reactivity, low power range, CR velocity sensitivity

The design of the power controller is based on the power error as input to the change
in the reactivity of the system (the one inserted by the control rods): it is thus
possible to find a correspondence between the reactivity peaks which generate the
power peaks.
The reactivity peaks related to the power peaks are shown in figures 7.37 and
7.38: in particular, the highest reactivity peaks are not corresponding to the highest
power peaks, and this is related to the nonlinear relation between power and
reactivity (e. g. criticality or prompt criticality can be reached at all power levels).

Startup sensitivity - Reactivity (high power range) - CR sys


0.015

0.010
reactivity [$]

0.005
reactivity_case0
reactivity_case1
0.000
reactivity_case2
reactivity_case3
-0.005

-0.010
53900 54300 54700 55100 55500
time [s]

146
Figure 7.39: Startup - Reactivity, high power range, CR velocity sensitivity

At high power ranges, the power error for cases 1 and 2 is at each timestep crossing
the limits imposed by the controller (both the maximum and the minimum): this can
be seen in figure 7.39 where the system reactivity oscillates continuously due to the
controller imposing the highest velocity in both directions. Instead the case 3 is well
behaving (case 0 is overlapped to it), giving a limited peak only during the power
ramp between 54000 and 55000 s. The worst reactivity peaks are anyway present at
the lowest power levels seen before: they are almost 1 o.o.m. higher than the ones
appearing on the later transient.

Startup sensitivity - CR velocity (low power range) - CR


0.0015 sys

0.0010

0.0005
velocity [m/s]

CR velocity_case0
0.0000
CR velocity_case1
CR velocity_case2
-0.0005
CR velocity_case3

-0.0010

-0.0015
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 7.40: Startup - CR velocity, low power, CR velocity sensitivity

Figure 7.40 confirms the non suitability of the cases 1 and 2 power controllers for the
high power levels. Anyway it can be noted that even at very low powers these
controllers present some peaks: they are related to the fact that the velocity of the
control rod suddenly changes from a zero value (when the power set point is still
zero) to a finite one which is comprised (correspondent to a relatively high velocity)
only in the power error table of cases 1 and 2.

147
Startup sensitivity - CR position - CR sys
0.010

0.005
position [m]

0.000
CR position_case0
CR position_case1
-0.005
CR position_case2
-0.010 CR position_case3

-0.015
0 20000 40000 60000
time [s]

Figure 7.41: Startup - CR position, CR velocity sensitivity

Startup sensitivity - CR position (low power range) - CR sys


0.010

0.005

0.000
position [m]

CR position_case0
CR position_case1
-0.005
CR position_case2
CR position_case3
-0.010

-0.015
0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
time [s]

Figure 7.42: Startup - CR position, low power, CR velocity sensitivity

Figures 7.41 and 7.42 show the control rod position over the duration of the
transients, which is related to the velocity through an integral relation.

148
Startup sensitivity - Steam line pressure - CR sys
16.5

16
pressure [bar]

15.5
p SL1_case0
p SL1_case1
15
p SL1_case2
14.5 p SL1_case3

14
0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000
time [s]

Figure 7.43: startup - Steam line pressure, CR velocity sensitivity

As shown in figure 7.43, the power controller change is not playing an important role
in terms of the thermal hydraulics of the system, which in practice does not feel any
influence generated by the difference among the controllers. This is again related to
the time constants of the different plant subsystems, namely, the neutronics and the
thermal hydraulics ones. The fission power stabilizes much faster than the fluids
conditions.

Startup sensitivity - Steam line pressure - LAG


17.0

16.5

16.0
pressure [bar]

15.5
p SL1_case0
15.0
p SL1_case4
14.5
p SL1_case5
14.0

13.5

13.0
0 20000 40000 60000
time [s]

Figure 7.44: Startup - Steam line pressure, LAG sensitivity

Figure 7.44 show the influence of the different fan inertia values on the system. High
inertia slows down the system and gives more oscillations respect to low values.

149
Figure 7.45 shows the behavior of the secondary pressure according to different
proportional gain constants of the controller. A too low value for this parameter
makes the system to diverge. This is related to the fact that the pressure does not
have enough time to stabilize between two power steps, so the increase in core power
cannot be followed by the same increase of power removal capability from the
thermal hydraulics of the cooling systems.

Startup sensitivity - Steam line pressure - KP


30

25

20
pressure [bar]

15

10 p SL1_case0
p SL1_case6
5
p SL1_case7

0
0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000
time [s]

Figure 7.45: Startup - Steam line pressure, KP sensitivity

Startup sensitivity - Exit air temperature - LAG

200
Tout air_case0
180 Tout air_case4
Tout air_case5
temperature [C]

160

140

120

100

80
0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000
time [s]

Figure 7.46: Startup - Exit air temperature, LAG sensitivity

150
Startup sensitivity - Exit air temperature - KP

220 Tout air_case0


Tout air_case6

170 Tout air_case7


temperature [C]

120

70

20
0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000
time [s]

Figure 7.47: Startup - Exit air temperature, KP sensitivity

The case 6 shown in the figures above shows a divergence of the calculation, in which
a too high proportional constant is playing an important (negative) role: It can be
noted the calculation stops when the exit air temperature reaches a value lower than
the inlet one (figure 7.47), and the secondary pressure falls towards very low values
(figure 7.45).

Startup sensitivity - Air mass flow rate - LAG


450
400 air mflow-case0
350
air mflow-case4
mass flow rate [kg/s]

300
air mflow-case5
250
200
150
100
50
0
0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000
time [s]

Figure 7.48: Startup - Air mass flow rate, LAG sensitivity

151
Startup sensitivity - Air mass flow rate - KP
3000
air mflow-
case0
2500
air mflow-
mass flow rate [kg/s]

case6
2000 air mflow-
case7
1500

1000

500

0
0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000
time [s]

Figure 7.49: Startup - Air mass flow rate, KP sensitivity

Startup sensitivity - Air mass flow rate - KP


500
air mflow-
case0
400 air mflow-
case6
mass flow rate [kg/s]

air mflow-
300 case7

200

100

0
15000 17000 19000 21000 23000 25000 27000 29000
time [s]

Figure 7.50: Startup - Air mass flow rate, low power, KP sensitivity

Figure 7.50 shows a zoom at low power for the air mass flow rate change in the case
of three different proportional constants of the secondary pressure controller: the
best case is here given by the highest value of the proportional constant (green curve)
which is fast approaching the required value.
From figures 7.44 to 7.50 is possible to understand that high inertia value are
macroscopically giving the same results of low proportional constants: the system is
slowly approaching the steady state, and starting the next perturbation (power ramp)
before the stability of the system is reached (from the previous ramp) can cause the
152
system to diverge. Quantitatively speaking anyway, small delays in system response
are always better than high lags, while too small proportional constants are giving
permanent oscillations, potentially leading to divergences.

153
8 Conclusions

In this study, a preliminary control system analysis has been studied in the
framework of MYRRHA project developed at SCKCEN research center.
Starting from the plant control strategy, in which two main control systems are
foreseen, namely the power control through the control rod movement and the
secondary steam pressure control through the tertiary fan air flow rate change, the
implementation of these controllers has been performed in a dynamic plant model.
A lumped parameter approach through MATLAB - Simulink energy balances
implementation, has been attempted with the aim of developing an easy and fast-
running tool for the implementation of the control systems. However, this tentative
approach was proven to be not suitable to describe the thermal hydraulics of a
complex system, in particular for what concerns the simulation of two phase flow.
The system code RELAP5-3D has been adopted in order to describe the dynamic
behavior of the complete MYRRHA plant: the code in-built point neutron kinetics
model has been used for the simulation of the fission power source, while a
combination of hydraulic volumes and thermal structures has been applied to mimic
the behavior of LBE as primary cooling system, saturated water at ~16 bar as
secondary side, forced circulated air as tertiary cooling loops.
A series of operational transients was analyzed in order to test the suitability of
the controllers and their response under perturbed conditions. In particular, some
transients required the change in the power controller set point (i.e. startup,
shutdown, power ramps) so that the controller behaves as a servomechanism. The
pressure controller was instead always used as a proper "regulator", required to
maintain the steam pressure to its set point value. To highlight the pressure
controller action, a series of comparative tests in uncontrolled conditions has been
performed as well.
Sensitivity studies have been performed on the controller parameters, such as
gain constants, delays and proportionality tables between input and output variables.
These analyses allowed to understand the influence of each single parameter subject
to sensitivity on the control action, and to choose the optimal controller in a
reasonable power range.
The results of the studies demonstrated that the suitability of each controller
depends not only on the controller itself, but also on the plant operating conditions,
both transient and steady state: for the transient case, the suitability of a controller
for a particular event may not be extended in other perturbed conditions; for the
steady state, it was seen that different power levels require different gain constant for
the controllers, due to the different error (entering the controller as input) range of
variation.
This dependence of the controller over the power regime is a consequence of
the non linearity of the system; a lumped parameter approach, excluding a priori
these kinds of non-linearities, would not provide reliable results in particular
transient simulations.
154
As a future development for this preliminary study, a coupling between
RELAP5-3D and MATLAB Simulink toolbox is surely one of the most promising
evolution: the thermal hydraulics described by the system code should be
interactively coupled with a control system implemented in Simulink environment. In
such a way each code would thus be able to perform the task for which it has been
optimally developed.

155
APPENDIX A

A more detailed insight on the RELAP5 3D model of the Primary Pump trip is given
here.

The pump model consists of a single hydrodynamic volume and attached inlet and
outlet junctions. Empirical curves are used in order to represent quasi-steady
centrifugal pump performance: this is characterized by the head and torque
developed by the pump itself.

- The head, defined P = g , is divided equally between the inlet and outlet
junctions
- The pump torque may not be available, but it can be obtained once known the
efficiency of the pump. Pump torque is also used to calculate pump speed.
- The efficiency of the pump is defined as the ratio between the hydraulic power
added to the fluid by the pump (which is reversible), over the total power added
to the fluid.

PTOT =

PHYD = mg = (f f vf + g g vg )AgH

Where m is the mass flow rate and the other parameters are based on volume
properties (in the case under exam card CCC0301, Words 1, 2 & 3, defines the fluid
across the pump as single phase. The vapor phase terms are null by definition.

In particular the following relation stands:

PDISS = PTOT - PHYD

Where the term at LHS represents the heat added to the fluid by the pump, which is
irreversible.
Non dimensional homologous curves are used to give the input pump data. A
rated or reference condition is used to normalize the pump parameters. The rated
condition is chosen for convenience and is generally at the normal operating point or
at the point of maximum efficiency.
Homologous parameters are defined as ratio normalized over the rated values
(Table A.1). The performance data are then converted to homologous form with
dependent or independent variables. The pump performance can be characterized
with 8 input regimes or curves [A.1].
To understand the advantage of representing pump data through homologous
curve, it can be mentioned that while the pump performance differs at each speed, the
head/torque curves in function of mass flow rate at different rotational speeds
collapse into one curve in homologous form, because all the pump characteristic
curves become function of the normalized pump speed.

156
The rated torque is related to the rated parameters defined above as follows:

R = (R QR g HR )/(R R)

The equation that, given the different torque components, allows calculating the
pump angular rotation speed is

Where I is the moment of inertia [kg/m2], and the are respectively the hydraulic,
frictional and motor torques.

The model used by the code to compute the frictional torque defines it as the
summation of frictional coefficients elevated to different powers (see again table A.1).

For the exponents used in the speed ratio with the frictional torque coefficients,
default values of 1, 2, 3 are respectively used.

The pump frictional critical speed ratio SPF used by default is 0.

The hydraulic torque is computed through the homologous curves [A.2].

The possibility is given to the user to avoid calculating the angular speed
through the torque inertia equation and giving directly the speed though a table. The
Primary Pump implemented in the MYRRHA RELAP5 - 3D model described in chapter
5, uses a constant value for the motor torque (until the trip is off) and the pump
rotational velocity is calculated from the torque inertia equation. The two Primary
Pumps are identically implemented in the primary system model.

Card CCC0301, Word 6 refers to the pump motor trip number. In the case under
study, where no pump velocity table is given and the motor torque is a constant value,
the activation of the trip means to bring to a null value the motor torque. Until the trip
is off, electrical power is supplied to the pump motor.

Card CCC0302 to CCC0304 are devoted to the pump description. Table A.1
summarizes the parameters implemented in the PP1 RELAP5 - 3D model.

157
Table A.1 - Pump data definition

Parameter Value Unit


Rated pump velocity, R 19.434 rad/s
Initial pump velocity/rated pump
1
velocity
Rated pump flow, QR 0.665 m3/s
Rated pump head, HR 3.05 m3/s
Rated pump torque, R 9454 Nm
Moment of inertia, IPN 2600 kgm2
Rated density, R 10380 kg/m3
Rated pump motor torque 0 Nm
Second frictional torque coefficient,
0.01 Nm
fr2
Constant frictional torque
0.01 Nm
coefficient, fr0
First frictional torque coefficient,
0 Nm
fr1
Third frictional torque coefficient,
0 Nm
fr3

The motor torque depends on the state (namely, tripped or not tripped). If the trip is
on, the motor torque is equal to zero, while if the trip is off the table (which gives the
time trend of the motor torque) or the sum of friction and hydraulic torques defines
the motor torque itself (M = -hyd - fr). In the case under exam, the second option has
been used.
The only asymmetric calculation in which the behavior of the two Primary
Pumps is different is performed in the PP1 trip transient (see Chapter 6), in which
one of the two pumps is tripped. In the case under exam the activation of the trip is at
500 s from the steady state conditions.
The figures below (from figure A.1 to figure A.4) show the time trend of the
pump performance parameters when the pump trip becomes true
As can be seen, both the motor torque (Figure A.2) and the total torque (Figure
A.1) go to zero. In particular, the motor torque goes immediately to zero for the effect
of the trip while the other one, being the summation of the hydraulic torque and the
frictional one, depends on the pump resistance and normally reaches a null value
because of the balance between the two terms.

158
Primary Pump 1 trip - Pump Torque
2000

-2000
torque [N*m]

-4000

-6000

-8000

-10000

-12000
400 450 500 550 600 650 700
time [s]

Figure A.1: PP1 total torque

Primary Pump 1 trip - Pump Motor torque


12000

10000

8000
torque [N*m]

6000

4000

2000

0
400 450 500 550 600 650 700
time [s]

Figure A.2: PP1 motor torque

159
Primary Pump 1 trip - Pump Rotational velocity
25

20
rotational velocity [rad/s]

15

10

-5
400 450 500 550 600 650 700
time [s]

Figure A.3: PP1 rotational velocity

Primary Pump 1 trip - Pump Head


300000

250000

200000
Head [Pa]

150000

100000

50000

0
400 450 500 550 600 650 700
time [s]

Figure A.4: PP1 head

160
Figure A.3 shows the pump rotational velocity which is calculated through the torque
inertia equation. The frictional torque causes the ~100 s time interval required to
bring the speed to the new steady state value (the negative value is related to the
change in direction of fluid circulation).
Figure A.4 shows the pump head after the trip: its value is related to the energy
still given to the fluid, even without motor torque, because of the pump velocity
induced by LBE inertia.

161
Acknowledgements

I would like to thank the people who contributed to this final achievement and in general who
supported me in this important path of my life.

I would like to thank my tutor, Diego Castelliti, who helped me constantly during the last six
months at SCKCEN with patience and availability that should be taken as an example.

I would like to thank my mentors from University of Pisa Walter Ambrosini and Nicola
Forgione and my "honorary" mentor Fabio Fineschi who, even if far from Belgium, gave a
great contribution to finalize my work. Professors Ambrosini and Forgione have been part of
my five-years studies through their constant help and precious advices always accompanied
by their kindness.

This Master Thesis work would not have been the same without the contribution given by my
colleague and office-mate Steven Keijers, my mentor Gert Van den Eynde, the help of Marc
Dierckx, Massimo Montecucco, Fabio Mirelli, Ludo Vermeeren, Katrine Van Tichelen and
Tewfik Hamidouche. Thanks also to Simon Vanmaerke and Michael Schikorr.

Ringrazio i miei genitori per essermi stati sempre vicini sotto tutti gli aspetti, i miei fratelli
Matteo e Tommaso, le nonne e Virginia.

Grazie alle amiche e amici di sempre, agli amici e colleghi universitari (Foppa in primis) e alle
nuove importanti persone con cui ho avuto il piacere di trascorrere momenti indimenticabili
in Boeretang.

162
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165