Investigating leakage and bypass flows in an HTR using a CFD methodology

15 November 2012

An area that has been identified as significantly important in the development of a high temperature reactor (HTR) is the prediction of leakage and bypass flows. It is therefore essential to understand the influence of leakage and bypass flows on the thermal performance of an HTR. A methodology was developed to conduct an integral thermal analysis of a reactor using a CFD approach. One of the main objectives was to include leakage and bypass flow paths in order to provide a capability for simulating these very detailed flows. This paper investigates leakage and bypass flows through the PBMR reactor unit. It was found that, although these flows are dependent on the pressure drop through the pebble bed, a change in pebble bed pressure drop does not result in a similar change in the predicted leakages flows. It is also shown that the ability to account for leakage and bypass flows in an integral manner can help designers to focus their efforts on the specific regions that need to be targeted for the improvement of the life expectancy of the graphite blocks. Furthermore, leakage and bypass flows were found to reduce the pressure drop across the reactor unit while increasing the peak fuel temperatures.