Stability analysis of BWR nuclear-coupled thermal-hydraulics using a simple model

Abstract

A simple mathematical model is developed to describe the dynamics of the nuclear-coupled thermal-hydraulics in a boiling water reactor (BWR) core. The model, which incorporates the essential features of neutron kinetics and single-phase and two-phase thermal-hydraulics, leads to a simple dynamical system comprised of a set of nonlinear ordinary differential equations (ODEs). The stability boundary is determined and plotted in the inlet-subcooling-number (enthalpy)/external-reactivity operating parameter plane. The eigenvalues of the Jacobian matrix of the dynamical system also are calculated at various steady-states (fixed points); the results are consistent with those of the direct stability analysis and indicate that a Hopf bifurcation occurs as the stability boundary in the operating parameter plane is crossed. Numerical simulations of the time-dependent, nonlinear ODEs are carried out for selected points in the operating parameter plane to obtain the actual damped and growing oscillations in the neutron number density, the channel inlet flow velocity, and the other phase variables. These indicate that the Hopf bifurcation is subcritical, hence, density wave oscillations with growing amplitude could result from a finite perturbation of the system even when it is being operated in the parameter region thought to be safe, i.e. where the steady-state is stable. Finally, the power-flow map, frequently used by reactor operators during start-up and shut-down operation of a BWR, is mapped to the inlet-subcooling-number/neutron-density (operating-parameter/phase-variable) plane, and then related to the stability boundaries for different fixed inlet velocities corresponding to selected points on the flow-control line. Also, the stability boundaries for different fixed inlet subcooling numbers corresponding to those selected points, are plotted in the neutron-density/inlet-velocity phase variable plane and then the points on the flow-control line are related to their respective stability boundaries in this plane. The relationship of the operating points on the flow-control line to their respective stability boundaries in these two planes provides insight into the instability observed in BWRs during low-flow/high-power operating conditions. It also shows that the normal operating point of a BWR is very stable in comparison with other possible operating points on the power-flow map. © 1997 Elsevier Science S.A. * Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 804 9825473; e-mail: aak5s@virginia.edu 1 This research was supported in part by the US NRC under grant No. NRC-04-90-113 and in part by the US DOE under grant No. DE-FG05-92ER75788. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NRC or DOE. 2 Work performed while at the University of Virginia. 0029-5493/97/$17.00 © 1997 Elsevier Science S.A. All rights reserved. PII S0029 -5493 (97 )00192 -1 A.A. Kar6e et al. / Nuclear Engineering and Design 177 (1997) 155–177 156

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Karve1998StabilityAO, title={Stability analysis of BWR nuclear-coupled thermal-hydraulics using a simple model}, author={Atul A. Karve and Rizwan Uddin}, year={1998} }