The Steam Generator Tube Rupture (SGTR) postulated event constitutes one of the most hazardous safety issues for Gen IV pool reactors, cooled by heavy liquid metals. This accidental scenario is characterized by quick water flashing when in contact with primary coolant liquid metal, causing pressure wave propagation, cover gas pressurization in the reactor main vessel as well as possible tube rupture propagation, vapour dragged through the core, oxides precipitation and consequent slugs and plugs formation.

The design phase of Gen IV MYRRHA reactor addressed the SGTR scenario issues in the framework of MAXSIMA project, supported by the European Commission. This research activity was fully executed at ENEA CR Brasimone, where a new test section was designed, assembled, instrumented and implemented in the large scale pool facility CIRCE. It was supported by the execution of preliminary and detailed pre-tests analysis performed adopting SIMME-III and -IV code, respectively.

This paper details the test section main features, able to host four full scale portions (each one constituted by 31 tubes) of the MYRRHA Primary Heat eXchanger (PHX), for carrying out four independent SGTR experiments. A couple of tests investigated the tube rupture at middle position between two spacer grids of the bundle. The other two tests analysed instead the rupture near the bottom tube plate. Auxiliary systems were adopted for reaching primary (Lead Bismuth Eutectic alloy, LBE) and secondary (water) coolant initial conditions in accordance with MYRRHA design. Water was injected at 16 bar and 200°C in LBE at 350°C under an argon cover gas at about atmospheric pressure. The experimental results of the first test (middle rupture), in terms of CIRCE vessel pressurization, vapour flow path through tube bundle and tubes deformation, are presented.

The post-test analysis was performed by SIMMER-IV code adopting the 3D Cartesian code version. The whole main vessel of CIRCE facility and implemented test section were modelled conserving heights and flowing areas. The experimental initial conditions were successfully matched by numerical results as well as the vessel pressurization and temperature time trends in the tube bundle following the SGTR. An important engineering feedback, for MYRRHA designer, was the evidence of rupture propagation absence. Moreover, the effectiveness of implemented safety devices, rupture disks, was evaluated and characterized for pressure relief feedbacks.

A wide series of high quality measured data (pressure, temperature, strain and mass flow rate) was acquired and constitutes a database enlargement for future codes validation and possible new model development.

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