Title: Understanding of the Operation Behaviour of a Passive Autocatalytic Recombiner (PAR) for Hydrogen Mitigation in Realistic Containment Conditions During a Severe Light Water Nuclear Reactor (LWR) Accident
Authors: PAYOT FredericREINECKE Ernst-ArendtMORFIN FranckSABROUX J.-C.MEYNET NicolasBENTAIB A.MARCH PhilippeZEYEN Roland
Citation: NUCLEAR ENGINEERING AND DESIGN vol. 248 p. 178-196
Publication Year: 2012
JRC N°: JRC69657
ISSN: 0029-5493
URI: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/nucengdes
DOI: 10.1016/j.nucengdes.2012.03.042
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: In the broader context of hydrogen risk mitigation in nuclear power plants (NPPs), experimental studies of a possible poisoning of Passive Autocatalytic Recombiners (PARs) by fission products (FPs) and aerosols released during a core meltdown accident were mainly conducted in the past with non-radioactive fission product surrogates (e.g., in the H2PAR facility at Cadarache, France). The decision was taken in 1997 to complement these studies by a test in the Phébus facility, a research nuclear reactor also at Cadarache: it was a rare opportunity to expose catalyst samples to an atmosphere as representative as possible of a real accident, containing gaseous fission products and aerosols released during the degradation of an actual irradiated nuclear fuel bundle. Before testing in Phébus during the FPT3 experiment, reference and qualification tests were performed in the H2PAR facility using the same samples — the so-called "coupons" — and coupon holder to check that the apparatus was functional and correctly designed for avoiding to tamper with the thermal-hydraulics and chemical conditions in the Phébus containment. The correct operation of catalysts was checked by measuring the surface temperature increase of the coupons due to the exothermic reaction between hydrogen and oxygen. After the Phébus FPT3 test (November 2004), REKO-1 tests were initiated at Jülich, Germany, to confirm the discrepancy in coupons temperature observed in Phébus FPT3 and H2PAR PHEB-03 tests, and to study the operation behaviour of PARs. Besides, before REKO-1 tests, a first interpretation of H2PAR and Phébus experiments was led to the conclusion that their difference during the operation was due to the different experimental conditions. Samples of catalysts (IRSN/IRCELYON coupon) similar to those used in Phébus and H2PAR facilities were exposed in REKO-1 facility to an atmosphere similar to that of the Phébus model containment. During the REKO-1 experiments, the temperatures of the coupon surface, together with the oxygen and hydrogen recombination kinetics, were measured as a function of the oxygen fraction in the feed. In these conditions, the inlet oxygen fraction was shown to be the main parameter affecting the recombination rate. The presence of steam was also taken into account during the IRSN/IRCELYON coupon operation in REKO-1. Finally, the PAR surface temperatures during the REKO-1 tests (both optical and thermocouple measurements) are compared with those obtained during the FPT3 and PHEB-03 tests. Then, the experimental observations (from the Phébus FPT3, H2PAR PHEB03 and REKO-1 tests) were corroborated by numerical calculations using the SPARK code developed at IRSN for catalytic reactors and recombiners applications. Despite the loss of performance experienced by the coupons in the FPT3 test, as compared with the PHEB-03 test, this study strengthens the qualification of PARs for risk mitigation in Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) NPPs, and subsidiarily demonstrates that they could still be efficient in the rich burn conditions of partially inerted (oxygen depleted) Boiling Water Reactor (BWR) containments.
JRC Institute:Energy, Transport and Climate

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