Improved numerical algorithm and experimental validation of a system thermal-hydraulic/CFD coupling method for multi-scale transient simulations of pool-type reactors

Date: 01/05/2017
Author: Toti, A.; Belloni, F.; Vierendeels, J.

Published in: Annals of Nuclear Energy, Vol. 103, 01.05.2017, p. 36-48

The paper describes the development and validation of a coupling methodology between the best-estimate system thermal-hydraulic code RELAP5-3D and the CFD code FLUENT, conceived for high fidelity plant-scale safety analyses of pool-type reactors. The computational tool is developed to assess the impact of three-dimensional phenomena occurring in accidental transients such as loss of flow (LOF) in the research reactor MYRRHA, currently in the design phase at the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre, SCK•CEN. A partitioned, implicit domain decomposition coupling algorithm is implemented, in which the coupled domains exchange thermal-hydraulics variables at coupling boundary interfaces. Numerical stability and interface convergence rates are improved by a novel interface Quasi-Newton algorithm, which is compared in this paper with previously tested numerical schemes. The developed computational method has been assessed for validation purposes against the experiment performed at the test facility TALL-3D, operated by the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Sweden. This paper details the results of the simulation of a loss of forced convection test, showing the capability of the developed methodology to predict transients influenced by local three-dimensional phenomena.