Indirect measurement of reactor fuel temperature

Oswald, Elbrecht (2010-03)

Thesis (MScEng (Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering))--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Regulators and designers of nuclear reactors regard knowledge of the pebble fuel temperature as important, due to the role that it plays in maintaining structural integrity and the production of neutrons. By using special fuel assemblies fitted with measuring equipment it is possible to measure the fuel temperature in stationary fuel reactors. This, however, is not possible in the pebble bed modular reactor due to its dynamic core. Designers of the pebble bed modular reactor have reserved special inspection channel borings inside the center reflector for fuel temperature measurement. By means of optical fibers and interferometry, the temperature can be measured inside such a channel. Currently the only way to control the fuel surface and core temperature is by measuring the gas inlet and outlet temperatures. This thesis attempts to determine the pebble temperature by measuring the temperature in a reflector channel. This is done by constructing an electrically heated pebble bed experimental setup simulating a cutout section of a pebble bed modular reactor core. An additional computational fluid dynamics simulation of the experimental setup was also performed. This thesis also attempts to determine if there is a measureable temperature peak that can indicate where a pebble was in contact with the reflector surface. This could then be used in future studies to determine the pebble fuel velocity as it moves down the reactor core. The computational fluid dynamics results were validated by experimental measurements. In the computational fluid dynamics model and experimental setup, it was found that there was indeed a measureable temperature difference on the temperature gradient along the reflector wall. The heat being conducted away from the pebble through the contact area can explain this. These differences were only observed when the channel was moved closer to the pebbles and it is therefore advised that some redesigning of the channel should be done if the in-core temperature is to be accurately interpreted by the designers at PBMR (Pty) Ltd.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Reguleerders en ontwerpers van kern reaktore beskou die kennis van die korrel brandstof temperatuur as belangrik. Dit is weens die rol wat die brandstof temperatuur speel met die behoud van strukturele integriteit en die produksie van neutrone binne-in die reaktor. Met behulp van spesiale brandstof montasies toegerus met die meetings instrumentasie, is dit moontlik om die brandstof temperatuur in stilstaande brandstof reaktore te meet. Dit is egter nie moontlik in die korrel bed modulêre reaktor nie, as gevolg van sy dinamiese kern. Ontwerpers van die korrel bed modulêre reaktor het spesiale kanale in die binnekant van die middel reflektor vir brandstof temperatuur meeting gereseveer. Deur middel van optiese vesel en interferometrie, kan die temperatuur binne so 'n kanaal gemeet word. Tans is die enigste manier om die brandstof-oppervlak temperatuur te berekern, net moontlik deur gebruik te maak van die gemete gas inlaat-en uitlaat temperature van die reaktor. Hierdie tesis poog om vas te stel of die korrel brandstof temperatuur deur die meet van die oppervlak temperatuur in 'n reflektor-kanaal bepaal kan word. Dit word gedoen deur 'n elektriese verhitte korrel bed eksperimentele opstelling te bou wat 'n gedeelte van 'n korrel bed modulêre reaktor simuleer. 'n Bykomende numeriese simulasie van die eksperimentele opstelling was ook uitgevoer. Hierdie werk het ook probeer om vas te stel of daar 'n meetbare temperatuur piek op die temperatuur profiel aandui kan word waar 'n korrel in kontak is met die reflektor se oppervlak. Dit kan dan in toekomstige studies gebruik word om te bepaal wat die korrel brandstof spoed was soos dit in die reaktor beweeg. Die numerise simulasie uitslae was deur eksperimentele metings bevestig. In die numerise simulasie model en die eksperimentele opstelling, is daar gevind dat daar inderdaad 'n meetbare temperatuur verskil op die temperatuurgradiënt teen die reflektor oppervlak is. Dit kan verduidelik word as gevolg van die hitte wat weg van die korrel gelei word deur middel van die kontak area. Hierdie verskille was slegs waargeneem wanneer die kanaal nader aan die korrels geskuif is en dit word as n aanbeveling aan PBMR (Pty) Ltd gemaak om sommige herontwerpe aan die kanaal te doen indien die in-kerntemperatuur gemeet wil word en akkuraat geinterpreteer wil word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/4145
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