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Development of experimental technology for simulated fuel-assembly heating to address core-material-relocation behavior during severe accident

Abe, Yuta ; Yamashita, Takuya; Sato, Ikken; Nakagiri, Toshio; Ishimi, Akihiro

The authors are developing an experimental technology for simulating severe accident (SA) conditions using simulate fuel material (ZrO$$_{2}$$) that would contribute, not only to Fukushima Daiichi (1F) decommissioning, but also to enhance the safety of worldwide existing and future nuclear power plants through clarification of accident progression behavior. Nontransfer (NTR) type plasma, which has been in practical use with a large torch capacity as high as 2 MW, has the potential to heat subject materials to very high temperatures without selecting the target to be heated. When simulating 1F with SA code, the target of this core-material-melting and relocation (CMMR) experiment was to confirm that NTR plasma has a sufficient heating performance realizing large temperature gradients ($$>$$ 2000 K/m) expected under 1F conditions. The authors selected NTR-type plasma-heating technology that has the advantage of continuous heating in addition to its high-temperature level. The CMMR-2 experiments were carried out in 2017 applying the improved technology (higher heating power and controlled oxygen concentration). The CMMR-2 experiment adopted a 30-min heating period, wherein the power was increased to a level where a large temperature gradient was expected at the lower part of the core under actual 1F accident conditions. Most of the control blade and channel box migrated from the original position. After heating, the simulated fuel assembly was measured by X-ray computed tomography (CT) technology and by electron probe micro-analyzer (EPMA). CT pictures and elemental mapping demonstrated its excellent performance with rather good precision. Based on these results, an excellent perspective, in terms of applicability of the NTR-type plasma-heating technology to the SA experimental study, was obtained.

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