Safety margins after failure of fuel cladding during protected loss-of-heat-sink accidents in a sodium-cooled fast reactor
Fukano, Yoshitaka ; Nishimura, Masahiro ; Yamada, Fumiaki
The following safety criteria for anticipated operational occurrences are commonly and uniformly employed for all the DBAs in the Japanese prototype sodium-cooled fast reactor to prevent fuel melting and cladding failure:(a) Maximum fuel temperature shall be below the melting point,(b) Maximum cladding temperature shall be below 830C, and (c) Maximum coolant temperature shall be below the boiling point. Cladding failure is allowed, on the contrary to that, in beyond DBAs (BDBAs) or severe accidents (SAs), whereas the core cooling capability is also needed to be secured as in DBAs. No fuel melting enables this by keeping the core in a coolable geometry, and is thus conservatively required even under such a condition. Protected loss-of-heat-sink (PLOHS) events are identified as one of the most dominant sequences. Safety margins for significant core damage in PLOHS events were therefore studied in this paper assuming fuel cladding failure. The following three possible mechanisms leading to degradation of the core were then identified to be scrutinized by a thorough and state-of-the-art review of open papers on the phenomena anticipated to occur under cladding failure conditions:(1) Fuel melting due to fuel-sodium reaction product (FSRP) formation, (2) Thermal transient due to FP gas impingement from adjacent failed fuel pins, and (3) Mechanical load due to the same FP gas impingement. It was clarified through simulation analyses on each phenomenon mentioned above using the FUCA code that there was no significant core damage at the coolant temperatures of up to 950C. It was therefore concluded that large safety margins are provided during PLOHS events even in failure of fuel cladding.