Modeling Evaporation from Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Pools: A Diffusion Approach
Hugo, Bruce Robert
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Accurate prediction of evaporative losses from light water reactor nuclear power plant (NPP) spent fuel storage pools (SFPs) is important for activities ranging from sizing of water makeup systems during NPP design to predicting the time available to supply emergency makeup water following severe accidents. Existing correlations for predicting evaporation from water surfaces are only optimized for conditions typical of swimming pools. This new approach modeling evaporation as a diffusion process has yielded an evaporation rate model that provided a better fit of published high temperature evaporation data and measurements from two SFPs than other published evaporation correlations. Insights from treating evaporation as a diffusion process include correcting for the effects of air flow and solutes on evaporation rate. An accurate modeling of the effects of air flow on evaporation rate is required to explain the observed temperature data from the Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 SFP during the 2011 loss of cooling event; the diffusion model of evaporation provides a significantly better fit to this data than existing evaporation models.