Development of a Benchmark for Thermal Striping in Gas-Cooled Fast Reactors

John Acierno, Elia Merzari, Logan Burnett, Yue Jin, Emilio Baglietto, Hangbok Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents the development of a benchmark for predicting thermal striping through simulation. This work utilized large eddy simulation and will be used to benchmark future models. The testing domain was created using both the STRUCT and the Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes turbulence models and is based on an earlier design of the General Atomics Fast Modular Reactor upper plenum. The plenum features two adjacent, identical hexagonal bundles each with a center-placed axial rod drive, with a hot left coolant stream and a cold right coolant stream. The simulation solves the nondimensional Navier-Stokes equations, with temperature accounted as a passive scalar. First- and second-order flow statistics were obtained after 600 convective time units of averaging. The first-order statistics reveal that the hot jet is damped by a recirculatory flow from the near wall. At the same location, the second-order statistics show strong oscillations both in velocity and temperature. The power spectral density was utilized to determine that a low-frequency oscillation occurs here that is within the range of interest for thermal striping. Furthermore, proper orthogonal decomposition was used to identify coherent structures that confirm the oscillatory behavior, indicative of thermal striping. Overall, this benchmark can aid in the development of future models for predicting thermal striping in nuclear reactors, potentially leading to improved reactor safety and performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1223-1244
Number of pages22
JournalNuclear Technology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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

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