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Flow Mixing Inside a Control-Rod Guide Tube: Part II—Experimental Tests and CFD-Simulations

[+] Author Affiliations
Kristian Angele, Mathias Cehlin, Carl-Maikel Högström, Ylva Odemark, Mats Henriksson, Bengt Hemström

Vattenfall Research and Development AB, Älvkarleby, Sweden

Hernan Tinoco, Hans Lindqvist

Forsmarks Kraftgrupp AB, Östhammar, Sweden

Paper No. ICONE18-29689, pp. 655-663; 9 pages
  • 18th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering
  • 18th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering: Volume 4, Parts A and B
  • Xi’an, China, May 17–21, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4932-3
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


A large number of control rod cracks were detected during the refuelling outage of the twin reactors Oskarshamn 3 and Forsmark 3 in the fall of 2008. The extensive damage investigation finally lead to the restart of both reactors at the end of 2008 under the condition that further studies would be conducted in order to clarify all remaining matters. Also, all control rods were inserted 14% in order to locate the welding region of the control rod stem away from the thermal mixing region of the flow. Unfortunately, this measure led to new cracks a few months later due to a combination of surface finish of the new stems and the changed flow conditions after the partial insertion of the control rods. The experimental evidence reported here shows an increase in the extension of the mixing region and in the intensity of the thermal fluctuations. As a part of the complementary work associated with the restart of the reactors, and to verify the CFD simulations, experimental work of the flow in the annular region formed by the guide tube and control rod stem was carried out. Two full-scale setups were developed, one in a Plexiglass model at atmospheric conditions (in order to be able to visualize the mixing process) and one in a steel model to allow for a higher temperature difference and heating of the control rod guide tube. The experimental results corroborate the general information obtained through CFD simulations, namely that the mixing region between the cold crud-removal flow and warm by-pass flow is perturbed by flow structures coming from above. The process is characterized by low frequent, high amplitude temperature fluctuations. The process is basically hydrodynamic, caused by the downward transport of flow structures originated at the upper bypass inlets. The damping thermal effects through buoyancy is of secondary importance, as also the scaling analysis shows, however a slight damping of the temperature fluctuations can be seen due to natural convection due to a pre-heating of the cold crud-removal flow. The comparison between numerical and experimental results shows a rather good agreement, indicating that experiments with plant conditions are not necessary since, through the existing scaling laws and CFD-calculations, the obtained results may be extrapolated to plant conditions. The problem of conjugate heat transfer has not yet been addressed experimentally since complex and difficult measurements of the heat transfer have to be carried out. This type of measurements constitutes one of the main challenges to be dealt with in the future work.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME



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