Stand-alone containment analysis of Phébus FPT tests with ASTEC and MELCOR codes: the FPT-2 test

Heliyon. 2018 Mar 2;4(3):e00553. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2018.e00553. eCollection 2018 Mar.


During the last 40 years, many studies have been carried out to investigate the different phenomena occurring during a Severe Accident (SA) in a Nuclear Power Plant (NPP). Such efforts have been supported by the execution of different experimental campaigns, and the integral Phébus FP tests were probably some of the most important experiments in this field. In these tests, the degradation of a Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) fuel bundle was investigated employing different control rod materials and burn-up levels in strongly or weakly oxidizing conditions. From the findings on these and previous tests, numerical codes such as ASTEC and MELCOR have been developed to analyze the evolution of a SA in real NPPs. After the termination of the Phébus FP campaign, these two codes have been furthermore improved to implement the more recent findings coming from different experimental campaigns. Therefore, continuous verification and validation is still necessary to check that the new improvements introduced in such codes allow also a better prediction of these Phébus tests. The aim of the present work is to re-analyze the Phébus FPT-2 test employing the updated ASTEC and MELCOR code versions. The analysis focuses on the stand-alone containment aspects of this test, and three different spatial nodalizations of the containment vessel (CV) have been developed. The paper summarizes the main thermal-hydraulic results and presents different sensitivity analyses carried out on the aerosols and fission products (FP) behavior. When possible, a comparison among the results obtained during this work and by different authors in previous work is also performed. This paper is part of a series of publications covering the four Phébus FP tests using a PWR fuel bundle: FPT-0, FPT-1, FPT-2, and FPT-3, excluding the FPT-4 one, related to the study of the release of low-volatility FP and transuranic elements from a debris bed and a pool of melted fuel.

Keywords: Nuclear engineering; Safety engineering.