Computational fluid dynamics for nuclear reactor safety

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The NEA Working Group on Analysis and Management of Accidents (WGAMA) held the eighth Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) for Nuclear Reactor Safety Applications (CFD4NRS-8) workshop virtually on 25-27 November 2020.

The CFD4NRS workshop is held biennially to present scientific advancements in the use of CFD for nuclear reactor safety. This year's event followed the format and objectives of its predecessors in creating a forum whereby numerical analysts and experimentalists exchanged information in the application of CFD to nuclear power plant safety and future design issues. It attracted more than 100 participants and featured four keynote lectures, 16 sessions and 51 papers.  

Computational Fluid Dynamics for Nuclear Reactor Safety 2020 workshop 2 

The workshop programme highlighted i) experiments aiming at providing CFD-level validation data, including local measurements (multi-sensor probes, laser-based techniques, etc.); and ii) single-phase or multiphase CFD simulations with a significant focus on verification and validation, in connection with nuclear safety issues, including critical heat flux, pressurised thermal shock, pool heat exchangers, passive-systems design, advanced reactor design, boron dilution, thermal fatigue and containment flows.

Other active fields of research and development discussed at the workshop included fluid-structure interaction, particle-laden flows and code coupling. Uncertainty quantification in computational fluid dynamics was also addressed.

Workshop participants concluded that CFD is continuously evolving and demonstrates large capabilities and promising uses for nuclear reactor safety. CFD codes have already been widely utilised to support the reactor design process and they are now also being used in the framework of reactor safety studies. While single-phase flow applications have reached global maturity, more efforts are still needed for advances to be made in CFD modelling of two-phase flow. Further work is also needed in developing high accuracy validation databases and advanced instrumentation, as well as more complex methodologies that also include uncertainty quantification.

International co-operation is key to mastering CFD, its capabilities and limitations. The NEA Working Group on Analysis and Management of Accidents (WGAMA) continues to advance the scientific and technological knowledge base for computational fluid dynamics to ensure high standards of nuclear reactor safety worldwide. The group plans to organise the next CFD4NRS workshop on 24-26 May 2022 in College Station, Texas, USA, hosted by Texas A&M University.

Computational Fluid Dynamics for Nuclear Reactor Safety 2020 workshop 1

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