An enhanced in-vessel core catcher is being designed and evaluated as part of a joint United States (U.S.)–Korean International Nuclear Engineering Research Initiative (INERI) investigating methods to insure In-Vessel Retention (IVR) of core materials that may relocate under severe accident conditions in advanced reactors. To reduce cost and simplify manufacture and installation, this new core catcher design consists of several interlocking sections that are machined to fit together when inserted into the lower head. If needed, the core catcher can be manufactured with holes to accommodate lower head penetrations. Each section of the core catcher consists of two material layers with an option to add a third layer (if deemed necessary): a base material, which has the capability to support and contain the mass of core materials that may relocate during a severe accident; an insulating oxide coating material on top of the base material, which resists interactions with high-temperature core materials; and an optional coating on the bottom side of the base material to prevent any potential oxidation of the base material during the lifetime of the reactor. Initial evaluations suggest that a thermally-sprayed oxide material is the most promising candidate insulator coating for a core catcher. As part of the effort to develop an in-vessel core catcher design, a series of high temperature materials interaction tests were conducted for thermal sprayed coatings and base materials with properties deemed most promising. This paper reports results from these materials interactions tests and efforts to optimize parameters for applying the thermal spray coatings.

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