2023 journal article
Challenge for the validation of high-fidelity multi-physics LWR modeling and simulation: Development of new experiments in research reactors
FRONTIERS IN ENERGY RESEARCH, 11.
Current approaches to validate multi-physics coupling mainly rely upon experimental data from the operation of the current reactor fleet. These data allow global experimental validation based on Light Water Reactor (LWR) macroscopic physical parameters of interest. However, they are insufficient for validating detailed coupling at the assembly and pin level. The use of well-controlled experimental data provided by research reactors is essential to implement a rigorous and consistent step-wise validation process of high-fidelity multi-physics coupling. That is why experimental data, such as the core power evolution in a transient-state coming from the SPERT-III experimental program and the CABRI research reactor, are analyzed as a first step towards this objective for the simulation of LWR transients initiated by reactivity insertion. The analysis of the state-of-the-art shows no existing experimental benchmark available worldwide for LWRs to consistently and rigorously validate advanced reactor physics/thermal-hydraulics/fuel performance coupling at the pin- or sub-channel scale. In this context, a discussion is therefore initiated in this paper on the perspective of developing new experiments dedicated to high-fidelity multi-physics tools, focusing on a first application: the validation of reactivity feedback effects. Very few existing light-water experimental reactors containing UO 2 fuel could today have the capacity to host these experiments. The development of a new validation experiment could only be achievable by considering a two-stage process for the experiment realization: a first stage involving a distributed network of sensors in the reactor core using instrumentation commonly used in research reactors, and a second stage implementing an instrumented fuel pin and innovative experimental techniques, in the longer term. Even if the OECD/NEA activities in the Expert Group on Multi-Physics Experimental Data, Benchmarks and Validation (EGMPEBV) (currently merged in the Expert Group on Multi-Physics of Reactor Systems – EGMUP) have started to pave the way for the development of such a high-fidelity multi-physics experiment, most of the work is still ahead of us.