In vessel retention (IVR) of molten core debris via water cooling at the external surface of the reactor vessel is an important severe accident management feature of advanced passive plants. During postulated severe accidents, the heat generated due to the molten debris relocation to the lower reactor pressure vessel head needs to be removed continuously to prevent vessel failure.

Besides the local critical heat flux (CHF) of outer wall surface which is the first importance, a stable feature of natural circulation flow and an effective natural circulation capability within the external reactor vessel cooling (ERVC) channel tend to be rather crucial for the success of IVR. Under this circumstance, a full-height ERVC test infrastructure for large advanced pressurized water reactor (PWR) IVR strategy engineering validation, namely reactor pressure vessel external cooling II test facility (REPEC-II), has been designed and constructed in Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU). And therefore, a brief introduction to the SJTU REPEC II facility as well as the experimental progress to date, is hereby given in the paper. During test campaign on the REPEC II facility, the one-dimensional natural circulation boiling flow characteristics during IVR-ERVC severe accident mitigation are investigated, with the experimental observation and measurement on natural circulation flow characteristics within the REPEC II test facility.

Based on the abundant results acquired in the test campaign, it is attempted, in this paper, to summarize and evaluate the ERVC performances and trends under various practical engineered conditions. The main evaluation results includes: influence on ERVC flow characteristics of various non-uniform heat load distribution cooling limits, the observed sinusoidal oscillation is suggested to be flashing-induced density wave oscillations and the oscillation period correlated well with the passing time of single-phase liquid in the riser. It is expected that these conclusions may help designers to have a reliable estimate of the impact of some related engineered factors on real IVR-ERVC performance.

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