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Benchmarking of Pressurized Water Reactor Blowdown Analysis Using RELAP5 and ANSYS

[+] Author Affiliations
Olivia Luke, Heqin Xu, Tamas Liszkai

NuScale Power, LLC, Corvallis, OR

Paper No. PVP2015-45722, pp. V004T04A057; 9 pages
  • ASME 2015 Pressure Vessels and Piping Conference
  • Volume 4: Fluid-Structure Interaction
  • Boston, Massachusetts, USA, July 19–23, 2015
  • Conference Sponsors: Pressure Vessels and Piping Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5697-0
  • Copyright © 2015 by ASME


Mechanical design bases for pressurized water reactors typically include various transients involving line breaches or valve actuations in high energy pressure boundaries. Due to the rapidly changing thermal hydraulic conditions and the resulting dynamic mechanical loads caused by the depressurization wave, blowdown events require special treatment from a mechanical analysis standpoint in order to meet the requirements of 10 CFR 50 Appendix A, General Design Criteria 4 and 14. Specifically, the fluid-structure interaction (FSI) is important for accurate prediction of dynamic mechanical loads, and must be evaluated to ensure that a reasonably bounding loading profile can be assured for all components, reactor vessel internals, and supports subject to the blowdown event.

This paper proposes a methodology to evaluate dynamic responses during blowdown events for mechanical design, using the code RELAP5-3D to simulate the thermal hydraulic conditions and subsequently the code ANSYS to simulate the FSI and resulting dynamic mechanical loads. Results from the German Heissdampf Reactor (HDR) blowdown experiments are used for methodology benchmarking. HDR benchmarking cases are studied to demonstrate that the capabilities of the thermal-hydraulic code RELAP5-3D and the multi-physics code ANSYS are sufficient to analyze high energy pressure boundary breaches. Thermal hydraulic boundary conditions are generated first using a RELAP5-3D model of the HDR break location for the selected study cases. The resulting time history data from RELAP5-3D are utilized in the ANSYS model, which is comprised of structural and acoustic elements. The use of essential, natural and acoustic impedance boundary conditions is investigated to determine the optimal method for simulating the fluid-structure interaction. Simulated displacements, strains, and differential pressure on the reactor vessel and reactor vessel internals are in excellent agreement with the experimental data for the time period of interest.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME



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