Coolability of porous core debris beds: Effects of bed geometry and multi-dimensional flooding: Dissertation

Eveliina Takasuo

Research output: ThesisDissertationCollection of Articles


This thesis addresses the coolability of porous debris beds in the context of severe accident management of nuclear power reactors. In a hypothetical severe accident at a Nordic-type boiling water reactor, the lower drywell of the containment is flooded, for the purpose of cooling the core melt discharged from the reactor pressure vessel in a water pool. The melt is fragmented and solidified in the pool, ultimately forming a porous debris bed that generates decay heat. The properties of the bed determine the limiting value for the heat flux that can be removed from the debris to the surrounding water without the risk of re-melting. The coolability of porous debris beds has been investigated experimentally by measuring the dryout power in electrically heated test beds that have different geometries. The geometries represent the debris bed shapes that may form in an accident scenario. The focus is especially on heap-like, realistic geometries which facilitate the multi-dimensional infiltration (flooding) of coolant into the bed. Spherical and irregular particles have been used to simulate the debris. The experiments have been modeled using 2D and 3D simulation codes applicable to fluid flow and heat transfer in porous media. Based on the experimental and simulation results, an interpretation of the dryout behavior in complex debris bed geometries is presented, and the validity of the codes and models for dryout predictions is evaluated. According to the experimental and simulation results, the coolability of the debris bed depends on both the flooding mode and the height of the bed. In the experiments, it was found that multi-dimensional flooding increases the dryout heat flux and coolability in a heap-shaped debris bed by 47-58% compared to the dryout heat flux of a classical, top-flooded bed of the same height. However, heap-like beds are higher than flat, top-flooded beds, which results in the formation of larger steam flux at the top of the bed. This counteracts the effect of the multi-dimensional flooding. Based on the measured dryout heat fluxes, the maximum height of a heap-like bed can only be about 1.5 times the height of a top-flooded, cylindrical bed in order to preserve the direct benefit from the multi-dimensional flooding. In addition, studies were conducted to evaluate the hydrodynamically representative effective particle diameter, which is applied in simulation models to describe debris beds that consist of irregular particles with considerable size variation. The results suggest that the effective diameter is small, closest to the mean diameter based on the number or length of particles.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor Degree
Awarding Institution
  • Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology LUT
  • Hyvärinen, Juhani, Supervisor, External person
  • Kyrki-Rajamäki, Riitta, Supervisor, External person
Award date23 Oct 2015
Place of PublicationEspoo
Print ISBNs978-951-38-8344-7
Electronic ISBNs978-951-38-8345-4
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • nuclear energy
  • severe accident
  • corium coolability
  • debris bed
  • twophase flow
  • thermal-hydraulic experiment
  • porous medium
  • numerical modeling


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