Experimental Investigation of Natural Circulation Instability in a BWR-Type Small Modular Reactor


The Purdue NMR (Novel Modular Reactor) represents a BWR-type small modular reactor with a significantly reduced reactor pressure vessel (RPV). Specifically, the NMR is one third the height and area of a conventional BWR RPV with an electrical output of 50 MWe. Experiments are performed in a well-scaled test facility to investigate the thermal hydraulic flow instabilities during the startup transients for the NMR. The scaling analysis for the design of natural circulation test facility uses a three-level scaling methodology. Scaling criteria are derived from non-dimensional field and constitutive equations. Important thermal hydraulic parameters, e.g. system pressure, inlet coolant flow velocity and local void fraction, are analyzed for slow and fast normal startup transients. Flashing instability and density wave oscillation are the main flow instabilities observed when system pressure is below 0.5 MPa. And the flashing instability and density wave oscillation show different type of oscillations in void fraction profile. Finally, the pressurized startup procedure is recommended and tested in current research to effectively eliminate the flow instabilities during the NMR startup transients.


Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Science


This material is based upon work supported under a Department of Energy Nuclear Energy University Program .

Keywords and Phrases

Constitutive equations; Flow velocity; Natural convection; Nuclear magnetic resonance; Oscillating flow; Pressure vessels; Small nuclear reactors; Stability; Test facilities; Transients; Two phase flow; Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV); Void fraction; Density wave oscillation; Experimental investigations; Flow instabilities; Natural circulation; Reactor Pressure Vessel; Small modular reactors; Start-up procedure; Thermal hydraulic parameters; Boiling water reactors; Natural circulation test facility; NMR; Pressurized startup procedures; Startup tests

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Article - Journal

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© 2015 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Nov 2015