Convective Cooling in a Pool-Type Research Reactor
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A reactor produces heat arising from fission reactions in the nuclear core. In the Missouri University of Science and Technology research reactor (MSTR), this heat is removed by natural convection where the coolant/moderator is demineralised water. Heat energy is transferred from the core into the coolant, and the heated water eventually evaporates from the open pool surface. A secondary cooling system was installed to actively remove excess heat arising from prolonged reactor operations. The nuclear core consists of uranium silicide aluminium dispersion fuel (U3Si2Al) in the form of rectangular plates. Gaps between the plates allow coolant to pass through and carry away heat. A study was carried out to map out heat flow as well as to predict the system's performance via STAR-CCM+ simulation. The core was approximated as porous media with porosity of 0.7027. The reactor is rated 200kW and total heat density is approximately 1.07+E7 Wm-3. An MSTR model consisting of 20% of MSTR's nuclear core in a third of the reactor pool was developed. At 35% pump capacity, the simulation results for the MSTR model showed that water is drawn out of the pool at a rate 1.28 kg s-1 from the 4" pipe, and predicted pool surface temperature not exceeding 30°C.