K.K. Rajan

Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research

Use of Multiphysics Simulation for design and analysis of Fast Breeder Reactor components and its associated fuel cycle facilities

India has a three stage nuclear program formulated by Dr. Homi Bhabha in the 1950s to secure the country's long term energy independence, through the use of limited uranium and vast thorium reserves found in India. Thorium itself is not a fissile material, and thus cannot undergo fission to produce energy. Instead, it must be first converted into the fissile isotope uranium-233 by transmutation in a reactor fueled by other fissile materials. The first two stages, natural uranium-fueled heavy water reactors and plutonium-fueled fast breeder reactors, are intended to generate sufficient fissile material from India's limited uranium resources, so that all its vast thorium reserves can be fully utilised in the third stage.

The development of second stage of Indian nuclear power program is undertaken by Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), the second largest establishment of the Department of Atomic Energy, set up at Kalpakkam. IGCAR has the mandate of conducting broad based multidisciplinary program of scientific research and advanced Engineering, directed towards the development of sodium cooled Fast Breeder Reactor (FBR) technology and its associated fuel cycle, in India.

Multiphysics simulation packages like COMSOL play an important role in design and analysis of important components of fast breeder reactor. Intermediate heat exchanger (IHX), sodium heated steam generator (SG), diverse safety rod drive mechanism (DSRDM) and electromagnetic flow meter are few of the components of the fast breeder reactor whose design and analysis was carried out using heat transfer, CFD and AC/DC modules of COMSOL multiphysics software. Cellular convection in vertical annuli at roof slab of FBR is another phenomenon that causes tilting of the components installed on reactor roof slab and was analyzed using COMSOL multiphysics software.

Multiphysics simulation package also plays an important role in design and development of components for fast reactor fuel cycle mainly based on Pyrochemical techniques. Electrorefiner and cathode processor/distillation furnace, which are the two most important components of pyroprocessing, were designed and analyzed with help of COMSOL multiphysics software. Electrochemical, AC/DC, chemical engineering, CFD and heat transfer modules of COMSOL multiphysics software were mainly used in design of these components.

This talk will discuss the effective usage of COMSOL in the design and analysis fast reactor component sand associated fuel cycle systems.

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