During the reflood phase of a postulated large break loss-of-coolant accident (LBLOCA), the liquid head in the reactor vessel downcomer provides the driving force to reflood the core. Since the reflood rate is a function of the downcomer inventory, the calculation of the downcomer liquid inventory is critical in simulating the reflood phase of a postulated LBLOCA accident in a pressurized water reactor.
Since the reactor coolant system pressure decreases rapidly after the onset of a LBLOCA transient, the walls surrounding the downcomer become superheated for the duration of the transient. The Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute (JAERI) downcomer effective water head test facility was designed to study boiling and steam-water interaction in the reactor vessel downcomer under prototypical reflood conditions. A number of tests were conducted at this facility with varying degrees of wall superheating (among other things) that cover the expected degree of superheating in a pressurized water reactor. The wall superheating achieved at the JAERI facility is greater than that of other large-scale facilities that are typically simulated to validate thermal-hydraulic system codes.
WCOBRA/TRAC-TF2 is the thermal-hydraulic system code utilized in the FULL SPECTRUM™ LOCA (FSLOCA™) evaluation model (EM). The ability of the WCOBRA/TRAC-TF2 code to predict phenomena occurring in the reactor vessel downcomer during the reflood phase of a postulated LBLOCA has been previously validated. However, only limited wall superheating was present in the existing validation basis. As such, two experiments conducted at the JAERI downcomer effective water head test facility are simulated to provide additional information on the capability of WCOBRA/TRAC-TF2 to predict the liquid inventory in the reactor vessel downcomer during the reflood phase of a postulated LBLOCA. The code captured all the trends observed in the experimental data for both Run 115 and Run 121. The various collapsed liquid levels tended to be well-predicted or under-predicted by the code after the initial simulated accumulator injection period.