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New CRP: Advancing Thermal-Hydraulic Models and Predictive Tools for Design and Operation of SCWR Prototypes (I31034)

New Coordinated Research Project

Under a new IAEA Coordinated Research Project, a comprehensive graduate (MS and PhD) training programmes on thermal-hydraulics phenomena modelling and predictions applicable to the prototype designs of SCWRs will be developed and implemented for students from countries embarking on nuclear power programmes. (Photo: H. ur Rehman/IAEA)

The IAEA is launching a new Coordinated Research Project (CRP) to support Member States in thermal-hydraulics modelling, tools development and experimental studies applicable to the design of super-critical water cooled reactors (SCWRs). The CRP is part of IAEA efforts to support the development of advanced water cooled reactor (WCR) technologies by fostering information exchange and collaborative research and development (R&D) in reactor design, assessment and technical analysis.

Several conceptual SCWR designs have been developed to generate greater than 1000MWe in Canada, China, the European Union, Japan and the Russian Federation. In addition, development has been expanded to include the design of super-critical small modular reactors (SCSMRs) with a generating capacity of up to 350MWe, which can also be adopted as prototypes for reference SCWR designs.

SCWRs are advanced reactor concepts designed to operate in light water conditions beyond the critical point (i.e., 22.1MPa and 374°C), providing enhanced characteristics of higher efficiencies, better fuel utilization, lower cost and improved safety compared with typical light water reactors.

The CRP specifically aims to advance the design tools and models (system and sub-channel codes) supported by computational fluid dynamics modelling applied to the design of SCWRs prototypes based on improved knowledge and understanding of thermal-hydraulics related phenomena such as but not limited to heat transfer, hydraulic resistance, instabilities and corrosion effects. Achieving this scope will include development of new predication models and performance benchmarks on the specific phenomena.

The major goal of this CRP is to advance conceptual SCWR designs toward their prototyping and closing existing gaps in their thermal-hydraulic design.

CRP Overall Objectives

This CRP is aimed at encouraging international collaboration among IAEA Member States to develop new knowledge needed to fill in gaps in the currently known conceptual SCWR designs, with a view to building a prototype facility. In addition, this CRP is focused on the development of or (re)establishment of R&D capabilities and infrastructure in participating Member States, as well as in training highly qualified personnel on thermal-hydraulics phenomena of supercritical fluids.

Specific CRP Research Objectives

  • Review and improve correlations for prediction of relevant thermal-hydraulics phenomena such as but not limited to heat transfer, critical heat flux, hydraulic resistance, choked flow and natural circulation in support of SCWR prototype development to establish suitable fluid-to-fluid similarity theories;
  • Acquire the data and develop/improve engineering correlations and modelling tools applicable to supercritical pressure conditions for advancing conceptual designs into prototype SCWR facilities;
  • Exploring the use of advanced computing technologies to work towards establishing an integral digital design platform;
  • Report all analysis steps (assumptions, evaluation boundary definitions, design parameters, experimental data) and the results achieved;
  • Develop education / training programmes for early-career engineers and scientists, and establish new opportunities for MS and PhD dissertations to strengthen promotion of research in advancing SCWR thermal-hydraulic design towards their prototyping; especially encourage female students to participate in graduate studies in the CRP framework R&D areas and apply for the IAEA MSCFP .

The project will be launched at its first Research Coordination Meeting in February 2022.

How to join the CRP

Interested institutions should submit their Proposal for a Research Contract or Agreement by 1 October 2021 directly to the IAEA’s Research Contracts Administration Section, using the proposal templates on the CRA web pages.

For further information related to this CRP, potential applicants can contact the Nuclear Power Technology Development Section, Division of Nuclear Power, IAEA Department of Nuclear Energy.

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