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Assessment of SCALE and MELCOR for a generic pebble bed fluoride high-temperature reactor...

by Robert F Kile, Friederike Bostelmann, Steven E Skutnik, William A Wieselquist, Nicholas R Brown
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Journal Name
Annals of Nuclear Energy
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This paper presents the development and application of SCALE and MELCOR models for a fluoride salt-cooled high-temperature reactor (FHR) based on publicly available specifications. SCALE version 6.3beta15 was used to generate power distributions and decay heat curves, and MELCOR version 2.2.18019 was used to calculate the thermal hydraulic response of an assumed FHR primary system. An approach was developed for determining the equilibrium state of the core using depletion of a core slice model and blending of fuel compositions at different burnups to provide three-dimensional fuel composition in the core. Results compared between a core with entirely fresh fuel and one with an equilibrium fuel composition revealed that the equilibrium core led to lower steady-state temperatures but slower cooldown during a loss of flow accident (LOFA). A sensitivity study was then conducted to explore the transient response of our FHR system to variations in thermal hydraulic parameters of the system using the equilibrium core. The inlet temperature, graphite thermal conductivity, and SCRAM time all provided significant control over peak fuel and coolant temperatures. Uncertainties in radionuclide decay data in SCALE were used to perform a decay heat sensitivity study, and we found that uncertainties in decay heat led to negligible impact on peak temperatures during the course of the transient. In all cases evaluated, the observed peak fuel temperatures remained approximately 700 K below anticipated failure limits for the LOFA.