Conceptual design of a thermal hydraulic loop for multiple test geometries at supercritical conditions named supercritical phenomena experimental test apparatus (SPETA)
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The efficiency of nuclear reactors can be improved by increasing the operating pressure of current nuclear reactors. Current CANDU-type nuclear reactors use heavy water as coolant at an outlet pressure of up to 11.5 MPa. Conceptual SuperCritical Water Reactors (SCWRs) will operate at a higher coolant outlet pressure of 25 MPa. Supercritical water technology has been used in advanced coal plants and its application proves promising to be employed in nuclear reactors. To better understand how supercritical water technology can be applied in nuclear power plants, supercritical water loops are used to study the heat transfer phenomena as it applies to CANDU-type reactors. A conceptual design of a loop known as the Supercritical Phenomena Experimental Apparatus (SPETA) has been done. This loop has been designed to fit in a 9 m by 2 m by 2.8 m enclosure that will be installed at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology Energy Research Laboratory. The loop include components to safely start up and shut down various test sections, produce a heat source to the test section, and to remove reject heat. It is expected that loop will be able to investigate the behaviour of supercritical water in various geometries including bare tubes, annulus tubes, and multi-element-type bundles. The experimental geometries are designed to match the fluid properties of Canadian SCWR fuel channel designs so that they are representative of a practical application of supercritical water technology in nuclear plants. This loop will investigate various test section orientations which are the horizontal, vertical, and inclined to investigate buoyancy effects. Frictional pressure drop effects and satisfactory methods of estimating hydraulic resistances in supercritical fluid shall also be estimated with the loop. Operating limits for SPETA have been established to be able to capture the important heat transfer phenomena at supercritical conditions. Heat balance and flow calculations have been done to appropriately size components in the loop. Sensitivity analysis has been done to find the optimum design for the loop.