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Dust in HTRs: Its nature and improving prediction of its resuspension

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Mike Reeks


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The HTR primary-system environment comprises nuclear graphites, alloys, dust (primarily carbonaceous) and high-purity helium. The amount of carbonaceous dust produced in a pebble-bed system would be considerably greater than one using a prismatic core with a significant contribution arising from the partially-graphitized binder of the pebbles. The dust is very fine, <10 mu m in size. Experience with HTRs shows the primary system to be contaminated by the isotopes Cs-134, Cs-137, Sr-90, (110)mAg, I-131, Xe-135, Kr-85 and tritium at a level representing an occupational-health issue rather than a safety issue. However, strong sorption of caesium, strontium, iodine and tritium onto carbonaceous dust has been observed. Hence, the extent to which deposited dust can be resuspended during a depressurization accident is a safety issue since the dust comprises the main vector for release of radioactivity into the confinement. For fine dust on a surface, the principal force keeping it in place arises from inter-molecular (van der Waals) forces while aerodynamic forces, mainly drag, act to remove it. The reference model chosen here for improving resuspension predictions is the so-called Rock'n'Roll model. This model is based on a statistical approach leading to a resuspension rate for the escape of particles from a potential well via the action of the fluctuating aerodynamic force caused by turbulence. The as-published Rock'n'Roll model assumes that the fluctuations of the aerodynamic force obey a Gaussian distribution. Here, we introduce calculated statistics for the fluctuations taken from a large-eddy simulation of turbulent channel flow (work is in progress on generating these statistics using direct numerical simulation of turbulence). The overall influence of more-realistic (non-Gaussian) forces on the resuspension rate is found to be an increase in short-term resuspension. Given this and the fact that the adhesive force is based on an empirical correlation, work has started on developing specific modelling for multi-layer deposits. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Kissane MP, Zhang F, Reeks MW

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nuclear Engineering and Design

Year: 2012

Volume: 251

Pages: 301-305

Print publication date: 17/11/2011

ISSN (print): 0029-5493

ISSN (electronic): 1872-759X

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/j.nucengdes.2011.10.028


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Funder referenceFunder name
516508European Commission