Nuclear Power Technology Development

IAEA Coordinated Research Projects (CRP)

Understanding and Prediction of Thermal-Hydraulics Phenomena Relevant to SCWRs


Summary

The Super-Critical Water-cooled Reactor (SCWR) is one of the innovative Water Cooled Reactor (WCR) concepts mainly for large scale production of electricity. By utilizing high core outlet coolant temperature, the SCWR is expected to achieve much higher thermal efficiencies than those of current WCRs, and thereby promise improved economics.

The objective of the CRP is to improve the understanding and prediction accuracy of thermal-hydraulics phenomena relevant to SCWRs and to benchmark numerical toolsets for their analyses. Several key phenomena, such as heat transfer, pressure drop and flow stability, have been identified as crucial to the success in developing SCWRs. Experimental and analytical information on these phenomena is being generated at several Member States and can be shared with others to advance the technology.

This CRP will enhance the understanding of thermal-hydraulics phenomena, the sharing of experimental and analytical results, the prediction methods for key thermal-hydraulics parameters, and the cross-training of personnel between participating institutes through closer interactions and collaboration.

Background

Currently, Water Cooled Reactors (WCRs) account for more than 95% of the electricity generated by nuclear power plants. In addition, there are hundreds of fossil-fired power units operating under supercritical conditions worldwide, and this technology is now very well established. The Super-Critical Water-cooled Reactor (SCWR) is an innovative WCR concept that operates at a pressure higher than the thermodynamic critical point of water (i.e. 22.1 MPa), allowing the core outlet coolant temperature to be much higher than that of the current generation of WCRs. The key technological advantages of the SCWR include its high thermal efficiency and a simplified system configuration, compared to conventional WCRs. These advantages were recognized in the 1950s, leading to significant research on nuclear reheated steam and a SCWR concept proposed by Russia in 1965.

There has been high interest in research and development of SCWRs in a number of IAEA Member States. In 2008, the IAEA officially started the CRP on Heat Transfer Behaviour and Thermo-hydraulics Code Testing for SCWRs, which promoted international collaboration among 16 institutes from 9 Member States and 2 International Organizations. The CRP was successfully completed in September 2012. Information generated from that CRP was documented in a TECDOC and numerous publications and reports. A database of thermal-hydraulics parameters of interest to SCWR development was compiled and is currently housed in the OECD/NEA central server..

Despite of the completion of the CRP, several collaborations continue between institutes participating in the CRP. Most of the institutes express their strong interest and support to initiate a new CRP on thermal-hydraulics of SCWRs to continue the momentum of international collaborations.

This new CRP on thermal-hydraulics of SCWRs aims to improve the understanding of thermal-hydraulics phenomena relevant to SCWRs and to improve the prediction accuracy of thermal-hydraulics parameters of interest to SCWR analyses. The identified scope of collaboration is considered as the applied R&D, as compared to the basis R&D in the former CRP.

CRP Overall Objective

The overall objective of the CRP is to improve the understanding of thermal-hydraulics phenomena and prediction accuracy of thermal-hydraulics parameters related to SCWRs and to benchmark numerical toolsets for SCWR thermal-hydraulics analyses.

Participants

The following institutions are participating in this CRP:

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (Canada), University of Ontario Institute of Technology (Canada), China Institute of Atomic Energy (China), Shanghai Jiao Tong University (China), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany), Budapest University of Technology & Economics (Hungary), Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (India), University of Pisa (Italy), JSC OKB Gidropress (Russia), National Technical University of Ukraine (Ukraine), University of Sheffield (UK), University of Wisconsin - Madison (USA)

1st Research Coordination Meeting (RCM) in Vienna, Austria, 28-31 October 2014

1st Research Coordination Meeting (RCM) in Vienna, Austria, 28-31 October 2014


Research Coordination Meetings

The First Research Coordination Meeting (RCM) (restricted access) of the CRP was held at IAEA Headquarters, Vienna, Austria, 28-31 October 2014. The participants established the CRP plan for their collaboration in several tasks, and developed a detail Integrated Research Plan (IRP) for the first period until the 2nd RCM. Download Agenda


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