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Non-LWR Model Development for the MELCOR Code

[+] Author Affiliations
Larry Humphries, Brad Beeny, David Louie

Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM

Hossein Esmaili, Michael Salay

US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC

Paper No. ICONE26-82415, pp. V06BT08A056; 10 pages
  • 2018 26th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering
  • Volume 6B: Thermal-Hydraulics and Safety Analyses
  • London, England, July 22–26, 2018
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5149-4
  • Copyright © 2018 by ASME


MELCOR is a fully-integrated, system-level computer code developed by Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) with the primary objective of modeling the progression of severe accidents in light water nuclear power plants [1,2,3]. Since the project began in 1982, MELCOR has undergone continuous development to address emerging issues, process new experimental information, and create a repository of knowledge on severe accident phenomena. This paper summarizes model development specifically developed for non-LWR applications such as high temperature gas reactors (HTGR), sodium fast reactors (SFR) and molten salt reactors (MSR).

Beginning in 2008, active development work began on HTGR modeling in MELCOR. Models were developed for helium gas thermodynamics, oxidation of graphite, thermal hydraulics and heat transfer for both prismatic and pebble bed designs, cavity cooling systems, fuel failure and fission product release, graphite dust generation, and aerosol transport, deposition, and resuspension.

In 2013, work commenced on the development of modeling capabilities for sodium fast reactors. This development included the addition of sodium as a working fluid as well as the addition of models for simulating containment fires (both spray and pool) as well as sodium atmospheric chemistry. Validation of these new models has been completed and code-to-code comparisons with the CONTAIN/LMR code has been performed. Work continues as development of sodium concrete interaction models is now underway.

In 2017, work began on adding capabilities for molten salt reactors. A new equation of state for FLIBE coolant has been successfully tested in MELCOR and is now undergoing validation against experiments. The alternate working fluid model has also been extended to permit both water and one alternate condensable working fluid in the same input model.

Copyright © 2018 by ASME



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