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Journal of Nuclear Science and Technology

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Code validation on a passive safety system test

with the SMART-ITL facility

Byong Guk Jeon, Yeon-Sik Cho, Hwang Bae, Yeon-Sik Kim, Sung-Uk Ryu, Jae-
Seung Suh, Sung-Jae Yi & Hyun-Sik Park

To cite this article: Byong Guk Jeon, Yeon-Sik Cho, Hwang Bae, Yeon-Sik Kim, Sung-Uk Ryu,
Jae-Seung Suh, Sung-Jae Yi & Hyun-Sik Park (2016): Code validation on a passive safety
system test with the SMART-ITL facility, Journal of Nuclear Science and Technology, DOI:
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Code validation on a passive safety system test with the SMART-ITL facility
Byong Guk Jeona, Yeon-Sik Chob, Hwang Baea, Yeon-Sik Kima, Sung-Uk Ryua, Jae-Seung Suhb, Sung-Jae Yia
and Hyun-Sik Parka
Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, - Daedeokdaero, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon, - , Korea; bSystem Engineering and
Technology Co. Ltd., Venture Town , , Sinildong-ro, Daedeok-gu, Daejeon, , Korea


A thermal-hydraulic integral effect test facility, SMART-ITL, was constructed to examine the sys- Received July
tem performance of SMART, a 330 MWt integral type reactor, and to provide data for validation of Accepted October
related thermal-hydraulic models in the system analysis codes. SMART is equipped with various
passive systems such as a passive residual heat removal system (PRHRS), a passive safety injection Passive system; system code;
system (PSIS), and an automatic depressurization system (ADS). The PSIS of SMART is made up of validation; integral test;
four core makeup tanks (CMTs), four safety injection tanks (SITs), and related piping. Over 10 tests SMART; small modular
have been performed to investigate the behavior of a single train of a PSIS (a CMT and a SIT) in reactor
connection with PRHRSs and an ADS. Using a system analysis code, MARS-KS, we validated the
experimental results for a representative test. All geometrical and thermal-hydraulic conditions
of SMART-ITL were reflected in the code input construction. Through the validation process, sev-
eral models, including a break flow model, heat transfer models, and pressure drop models, were
examined. Overall, the major system parameters were well reproduced.

1. Introduction some limited capabilities were observed, such as ther-

mal stratification and three-dimensional phenomena.
Integrated small modular reactors (iSMRs) have
To simulate the experiments for SMART-ITL tests, we
received attention because of their intrinsic safety fea-
used a best-estimate system code, MARS-KS [19]. The
tures in avoiding large break loss of coolant accidents
code has the backbone of COBRA and RELAP5 with
and their reasonable cost. Many iSMRs have been
improvements in multidimensional treatment and sev-
suggested thus far, including CAREM-25, Nuscale,
eral models. It has been assessed through several tests
mPower, IRIS, PX, and SMART [1–6]. Among them,
[20,21]. In this paper, we focus on the simulation of a
SMART is the first integral-type reactor in the world
small break loss of coolant accident (SBLOCA) test with
to receive a design certificate, which was granted in
PSIS installed in SMART-ITL discussing on adequacy
2012 by Korean nuclear regulatory organization [6].
of models inside the code. The main emphasis is on the
SMART is now equipped with passive safety systems
break flow rates and PSIS injection rates.
such as passive safety injection systems (PSIS) and pas-
sive residual heat removal systems (PRHRS). Similar
concepts have been also designed and tested from other 2. Test facility and test scenario
advanced water reactors [7–13]. After thorough tests in
A schematic of the SMART-ITL facility is shown in
an integral test loop, VISTA-ITL, key concepts, includ-
Figure 1. The facility is scaled with a full height, 1/1 time
ing PRHRS of SMART, were validated [14]. Because
scale, and 1/49 volume and power scale. It is comprised
the VIST-ITL was a test loop with a reduced height,
of a primary system, a secondary system, four steam
a new integral test loop, SMART-ITL, was built at a
generators (SGs), four trains of PRHRS, four trains of
full-height. In the loop, PSIS and a two-stage automatic
active safety injection systems, two trains of shutdown
depressurization system (ADS) were added [15–16]. In
cooling systems, a break simulator, a break flow rate
2014, one-train PSIS tests were conducted [17].
measuring system, and auxiliary systems. In addition,
Until now, various system codes have been used for
one train of PSIS and two stages of ADS were added to
prediction of thermal phenomena in conventional and
the SMART-ITL to simulate the system behavior of the
integral reactors. For example, the adequacy of RELAP5
SMART passive safety system. Four trains of the PSIS
simulation onto AP600, which is similar to SMART
were installed at the end of 2015.
in regard to a passive safety injection application, was
Over 1500 instrumentations, including thermocou-
evaluated [18]. In that evaluation, most of the models
ples, pressure and differential pressure transmitters,
and correlations were found to be applicable, although

CONTACT Byong Guk Jeon

© Atomic Energy Society of Japan. All rights reserved.

Figure . Schematic of SMART-ITL (simplified).

Figure . Nodalization diagram of SMART-ITL for
MARS-KS model (for clear representation, only single train is
flow meters, and load cells, were installed to understand displayed).
and assure the performance of the passive safety sys-
Among a series of tests performed in 2014, this paper It was assumed that the decay heat is imposed just after
focuses on a test case of S108, which simulated a 2 the control rod injection, LPP + 1.6s. The decay power
inch break at the safety injection line [17]. The major curve was simulated using electric heaters. Roughly 2
sequence of the test is shown in Table 1. In Table 1, set- seconds after the LPP set-point, cold water from the
points of PLPP and PSITAS were determined in the design core makeup tank (CMT) was injected into the reactor
stage based on code calculation results to optimize vessel (RV) by opening the isolation valve at the CMT.
depressurization and primary water inventory manage- When the primary pressure dropped to a certain level,
ment, respectively. Furthermore, delay times for signal a safety injection tank (SIT) actuation signal was gen-
actuation (e.g. 1.1 s) were determined considering sig- erated and the isolation valve at the SIT was opened.
nal process time. When the level of the CMT fell below 35% of its full
In the SBLOCA test, once a break occurred, the pri- height, an ADS signal was generated.
mary system pressure started to decrease. When the
primary pressure reached a low pressurizer pressure 3. MARS modeling
(LPP) set-point, a reactor trip signal was generated.
Within 20 seconds after the signal, the reactor coolant A nodalization diagram for SMART- ITL is shown in
pumps (RCPs) started to coast-down, the decay heat Figure 2. In the nodalization, all systems, including the
was imposed, and PRHR isolation valves were opened reactor coolant systems, secondary systems, PRHRS,
while main feedwater and main steam isolation valves CMT, and SIT, are considered. In the calculation, the
were closed. Because we used canned motor pumps in decay power was imposed in accordance with the exper-
accordance with the prototype, there was no flywheel iment, and the operation logics of the safety systems
inside RCPs and the coast-down time was negligible. were reflected. Furthermore, geometrical and mate-
rial information of the components and pipes in the

Table . Major sequence of SBLOCA tests.

Event Trip signal and set-point

Break -
LPP set-point PZR pressure= PLPP
LPP reactor trip signal
– FW stop, RCP coast down LPP + . s
– CMTAS (CMT actuation signal) triggering
Control rod insert LPP + . s
Main steam high pressure set-point LPP + . s
PRHR actuation signal (PRHRAS) MSHP+ . s = ( LPP + . s)
PRHRS isolation valve open, feedwater isolation valve close PRHRAS+ . s
Main steam isolation valve close PRHRAS + . s
CMT injection start CMTAS+ . s
SIT actuation signal (SITAS) PZR pressure=P SITAS
SIT injection start SITAS+ . s
ADS # open CMT level < %
Test end –

Figure . Nodalization of break line (top: full modeling, bottom:

simplified modeling).
Figure . Break flow rates from the experiment and the two cal-
culation cases (simplified and full).

SMART-ITL facility were reflected. For pump model-

ing, homologous curves for the installed RCPs were
After sustaining a steady state for roughly 10 min-
utes, a transient calculation was conducted according
to the major sequence and logic of the experiment, as
given in Table 1. At a time of zero, a break occurred at
the safety injection line, which is connected to the upper
downcomer (UDC) at the discharge of a RCP.
Some technical items that were carefully considered
in the modeling are discussed below.
Heat transfer correlations at SGs are important
affecting both steady-state and transient trends. We
used the correlations for helical tubes built in the
MARS-KS code. A detailed formulation of the correla-
tions and validation results can be found in [22]. In the
paper, the overall heat transfer rate was well predicted
both for full-scale prototype and scaled-down SG cas-
Figure . Top view of UDC.
The piping of the primary loop was modeled as heat
structures. Heat loss was imposed on the outer surface simulated as shown in Figure 3. Applying a certain dis-
of the pipe wall, especially near the downcomer, by set- charge coefficient, the break flow rate obtained from full
ting a heat transfer coefficient. The amounts of heat loss break line representation was compared with the one
were found to be similar between the experiment and from simple junction representation. We found that the
calculation for a steady state. adequate discharge coefficient was 0.78 (Figure 4). The
Among many critical flow models, the Henry– coefficient was consistent with the values derived from
Fauske model of the MARS-KS was chosen because other integral tests [23].
that model showed the best performance in previous The UDC is the place where most dynamic and
integral effect tests [23]. Although a break nozzle with complex thermal hydraulic phenomena take place
a certain length was installed inside a long pipe before (Figure 5). In the UDC, the pump discharge, safety
entering the break measurement system, the break water injection, and break opening (in case of a SI line
region was represented by a single junction having the break scenario) appear at the same elevation. The pump
same area with the nozzle because of the too small discharge and safety injection were installed at a 30° dif-
time step size required (∼10−5 s) to represent the ference, circumferentially. We were concerned that the
actual nozzle geometry. Because that simplification of circulating water would be drawn into the break open-
the break nozzle led to an overestimation of the break ing even after the moment that the UDC water level was
flow rate, the discharge coefficient in the Henry–Fauske decreased below the broken SI line. This can happen
model was used. To determine the discharge coefficient, when the flashing rate is smaller than break flow rate of
the break line, including the nozzle, was separately steam, or when the steam carries water droplets into the

Figure . Representation of UDC nodalization (left: top view;

right: side view).

Table . Steady-state results for S test.

Parameters Experiment Calculation Error (%)
Figure . Comparison of pressurizer pressure between expe-ri
Power . kW . kW . ment and simulation
PZR pressure . MPa . MPa .
Primary flow rate . kg/s . kg/s .
Primary core inlet T . °C . °C .
Primary core outlet T . °C . °C .
Secondary flow rate . kg/s . kg/s .
Secondary SG outlet pressure . MPa . MPa .
Secondary SG inlet T . °C . °C .
Secondary SG outlet T . °C . °C .

break opening. Because the amount of water loss affects

the total inventory inside the RV, good representation of
UDC is crucial in terms of safety. Using a system code,
it is difficult to reflect the three dimensional phenom-
ena. Based on the experimental results, the UDC was
divided circumferentially and nodes at the elevation of
break opening were disconnected to preclude the lateral
traverse of water directly (Figure 6).
The flow resistance in the CMT injection line should
be validated in advance. By comparing with the cold
injection test, where CMT water was drained while the
RV was maintained at the ambient pressure and tem- Figure . Comparison of accumulated break flow rate
perature, the flow resistance through the CMT injection between experiment and simulation
line was validated.
determined by the combined effects of heat and mass
4. Results removal from the break flow, PRHR heat exchangers,
and the CMT/SIT injection, each effect should be exam-
4.1. Steady-state results ined separately.
Table 2 represents a comparison of the steady-state Figure 8 shows the accumulated break flow rates
results between the experiment and simulation. We from the experiment and the calculation. In the exper-
can see that the calculation followed the experimental iment, we measured the discharged amount of both
conditions accurately. The result validated the RCP water and steam. The mass of the released water was
characteristic curves and SG heat transfer models, and measured by a load cell while the steam flow rate was
confirmed the adequate modeling of heat loss from the measured by a vortex flow meter. Prediction of individ-
primary loop. ual break flow rate, rather than the total, was impor-
tant because each had a different role: released steam
affected the pressurizer pressure varying the actuation
4.2. Transient results time of the reactor trip and safety systems while released
Figures 7–16 display main normalized parameters from water affected the inventory inside the RV. Considering
the experiment and calculation, and the phenomena that the figure of merit is the water level inside the RV,
regarding the CMT injection (Figure 14). the water loss was carefully considered.
In Figure 7, we can see that the pressurizer pressure Because the UDC where the break opening was
was well tracked. After the break, a monotonic reduc- located was initially filled with subcooled water, water
tion of the pressure appeared. Because the pressure was was discharged first. After hundreds of seconds, the

Figure . Comparison of secondary loop pressure

Figure . Comparison of collapsed water level in the RV between experiment and simulation.
between experiment and simulation.

UDC water level was reduced below the opening ele-

vation. Thereafter, steam was solely released because
the water level was retained below the opening eleva-
tion. The break flow rate was controlled by two fac-
tors: the choked model and the UDC nodalization.
The critical flow model affected the absolute level of
released rate while the UDC nodazliation determined
the phase, that is, liquid or gas, of the discharged
coolant. In the experiment, water circulated through
the UDC into SG for 1500 seconds after the break
while the water was discharged from the break open-
ing for the initial 500 seconds. That means for the late
1000 seconds, circulating water was not drawn into Figure . Comparison of secondary loop flow rate
the break opening. However, when we represented the between experiment and simulation.
UDC nodalization as a single pipe or as parallel pipes
that were connected at each node, all the circulating
water was drawn into the break opening and an exces- as shown in Figure 13. This is expected to be the main
sive amount of water was lost. In addition to the flow reason for the higher RV water level in calculation.
path nodalization, the surface area of the heat struc- Figure 10 represents the secondary loop pressure.
tures affected the phase in front of the break opening. The pressure soared after closing of the main feedwater
Under an abrupt decline of pressure, superheated water and steam isolation valves but immediately dropped as
was flashed in proportion to the area of the wall sur- the PRHRS started to operate. The secondary pressure
face area [24]. Because the discharged water from the was determined by heat transfer from the primary loop
pump was sprinkled onto the inner wall of the RV, the and to the ultimate heat sink, or emergency cooldown
flashing rate was expected to be enhanced. We manipu- tank (ECT). It is anticipated that both of them were cal-
lated the flow path and the surface area to match the culated at a reasonable level of accuracy.
experimental data. The method of UDC representa- Figure 11 represents the secondary loop flow rate.
tion for a general prediction of the break flow needs After operation of the PRHRS, forced circulation was
further validation, at least under different break size changed into natural circulation with a reduced flow
scenarios. rate. The circulation rate was decreased gradually as the
Figure 9 represents the RV water level. The level temperature of the ECT was increased. The calculation
was precisely predicted until 20,000 seconds after the showed similar results with the experiment. Consider-
break. After that time, the calculated water level stayed ing that the flow rate was determined by both the heat
above the measured level. The water level was influ- transfer coefficients of the PRHR heat exchangers and
enced by water discharge through the break opening, flow resistance along the PRHRS pipes, we can say that
coolant injection, and heat transfer rate through the SG, the overall PRHRS behaviors were well simulated. How-
or PRHRS. The adequacy of the break simulation was ever, detailed analysis is required in the future. In par-
confirmed in Figure 8. The coolant injection from CMT ticular, the three-dimensional thermal mixing process
was over-predicted in calculation after 20,000 seconds inside the ECT is under study.

Figure . Comparison of CMT flow rate between experimentand Figure . Comparison of CMT water level between experimentand
simulation. simulation.

The water injection rate of the CMT is displayed in

Figure 12. The injection rate soared at the opening of
the isolation valve and then decreased gradually as the
water level inside the CMTs decreased, or as the gravi-
metric driving force was reduced. The overall trend was
well reproduced in the calculation. However, looking
into the details, the flow rate dropped and oscillated for
the early 5000 seconds of the calculation. This came
from the over-predicted wall condensation. The con-
densation models developed under pipe flows could
not deal with the condensation inside a tank equipped
with a sparger. The excessive condensation led to a
larger transport of steam and pressure drop through
the pressure balance line (PBL), which connected the
Figure . Graphical representation of phenomena
RV and the CMT top. After 5000 seconds, the injection
regarding suspension of CMT injection.
flow rate from the calculation gave higher value. This
was the period when the wall condensation was negli-
gible because the slowly cooled CMT wall had a higher
temperature than the transported steam. The inter- calculation was attributed to two reasons as presented in
face condensation dominated the phenomena but Figure 14 . First, as we mentioned related to Figure 12,
was underpredicted in calculation. Because the the interfacial condensation inside the CMT was under-
interfacial heat transfer correlation in the code is predicted, which led to a low transport of steam and less
based on the natural circulation and lacks valida- pressure drop along the PBL. Second, in the experiment,
tion, improvement of the correlation is needed in the the steam flow path was partially blocked because of
future. condensate accumulated at the instruments, valves, and
The unsettled and tricky problem is the suspension pipes. In the code, even though the interfacial conden-
of CMT injection as shown in Figure 13. Because this sation model can be newly developed, the condensate
kind of suspension of injection leads to a partial inac- accumulation along the horizontal pipes is very difficult
cessibility of emergency water, it should be well under- to consider. Because the partial blockage is inappropri-
stood and reflected in the code. In the calculation, the ate to the passive systems, the experimental design can
CMT water was fully injected at around 38,000 seconds. be modified to avoid this problem.
However, in the experiment, the water was sustained Figures 15 and 16 represent the SIT flow rates and
at a certain level. At this time, the differential pres- water level, respectively. Compared to the CMT injec-
sure, or pressure loss, across the PBL was 20 kPa, which tion behavior, the injection was slower and more sta-
was equivalent to the elevation difference between the ble because of the higher water level (roughly two times
injection nozzle and the suspended CMT water level of CMT) and small orifice installed downstream. As
[25]. Because the driving force of the CMT was small a result, the SIT functioned as a long term supply of
compared to active systems, the pressure drop along the coolant. In calculation, the initial injection rate was
pipes indeed affected the performance of the CMT. The underpredicted because of large condensation at the
difference in pressure drop between the experiment and wall of the SIT.

This work was supported by the National Research Founda-
tion of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government
(MSIP) [grant number 2016M2C6A1004894].

Disclosure statement
No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.

ADS automatic depressurization system
CMT core makeup tank
Figure . Comparison of SIT flow rate between experiment and ECT emergency cooldown tank
simulation. PBL pressure balance line
PRHRS passive residual heat removal system
PSIS passive safety injection system
SIT safety injection tank
UDC upper downcomer

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