CFD Evaluation of Pressure Change Along Coolant Passages in Sodium-Cooled Fast Reactor with Nek5000

Jun Fang, Yiqi Yu, Haomin Yuan, Elia Merzari, Dillon R. Shaver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


To support the design efforts of advanced sodium-cooled fast reactors (SFRs), a series of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations are performed to investigate the pressure change along various flow passages in the proposed SFR system. The simulations are carried out with the state-of-the-art spectral element flow solver, Nek5000. Two specific case studies are presented in this paper: the flow exiting the axial neutron reflector channels and the flow entering the fuel pin bundle. Due to the high Reynolds numbers expected, a Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) approach is necessary to model the turbulence. A newly developed regularized (Formula presented.) RANS model is adopted in the related CFD calculations. The first case study explores the effect of Reynolds number on the pressure change when flow exits the reflector channels. The pressure change in this case has two major contributors: the change due to wall friction and the Bernoulli effect. It is noted that the nondimensional pressure loss follows a log-linear trend up to Re = 105, and then the trend is flattened. In the second case study, the advanced NekNek coupling capability is tested where an integral domain can be divided into multiple subdomains with coupling interfaces, which would greatly ease the meshing process of complex engineering geometries and potentially save computational resources. The preliminary results obtained so far confirm the consistency between the NekNek results and those produced by regular Nek5000 simulation. The presented work demonstrates the readiness and flexibility of the related CFD techniques, which is part of the broader effort to leverage cutting-edge CFD to inform the advanced nuclear reactor designs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1233-1243
Number of pages11
JournalNuclear Technology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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