View of the ATLAS experimental loop. KAERI, Korea
The Advanced Thermal-hydraulic Test Loop for Accident Simulation (ATLAS) Project was referenced in The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident: OECD/NEA Nuclear Safety Response and Lessons Learnt report as one of the three new joint projects based on existing research facilities which address safety issues related to the Fukushima Daiichi accident.
The ATLAS project is aimed at investigations in the thermalhydraulics field of accident scenarios of high safety relevance for both existing and future nuclear power plants.
Such investigations are of specific importance because they contribute to the validation of computer codes that are required in safety evaluation of light water reactors (LWRs) in order to simulate plant behaviour during design basis accidents (DBAs) and design extension conditions (DECs). They cover complex multi-dimensional single-phase and two-phase flow conditions.
Although current thermal-hydraulic safety analysis codes have achieved very high predictive capability especially for one-dimensional phenomena, there is a strong need for experimental work and code development and validation for more complex flow conditions.
Moreover, the increased use of best-estimate (BE) analysis methods in licensing, which is replacing traditional conservative evaluation model (EM) approaches, require the validation and quantification of uncertainties in the simulation models and methods.
Many experimental facilities have contributed to the thermal-hydraulic databases available today which have been extensively used for the validation of EM and BE computer codes. However, most of the current data are insufficient for future codes which aim at multi-dimensional simulation capabilities, mainly because the spatial resolution of measurement is not sufficient to assess the simulation models and methods, especially for integral system testing.
The main objective of the first phase was to provide experimental data for resolving key LWR thermal-hydraulics safety issues related to multiple high-risk failures and highlighted in particular from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident, by using the ATLAS facility at the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI).
The first phase focused in particular on the validation of simulation models and methods for complex phenomena of high safety relevance to thermal-hydraulic transients in DBAs and DECs, more particularly:
The experimental programme provided a valuable and broadly usable database to achieve the above objectives. In phase one, a total of eight tests at the ATLAS facility were performed within five different research topics:
The experimental programme and associated analytical activities helped creating an analytical group among NEA member countries which share the need to maintain or improve the technical competence in thermal hydraulics for nuclear reactor safety evaluations. Within the group activities, a joint workshop with the OECD/NEA PKL3 project was organised which main outcomes are presented here.
The summary report of phase 1 is available here.
The Data package for phase 1 is available upon request to the NEA Databank at https://www.oecd-nea.org/tools/abstract/detail/csni2039/.
ATLAS-2 was a follow-up to phase one and was focused on topics of high safety relevance for both existing and future nuclear power plants that had been identified by the participants. The following topics were addressed:
The experimental programme was designed to provide an integral-effect experimental database to support the enhancement of code predictive capability and accuracy of models. In phase 2, a total of 8 tests were performed. Analytical activities were pursued including the oganisation of a joint workshop with the OECD/NEA PKL4 project which outcomes are provided here.
The summary report of phase 2 is available here.
ATALS-3 is a follow-up to phase two and aims to enhance the nuclear safety analysis methods and improve the best guidelines for accident management. Investigations are focusing on remaining key issues that have been identified following the completion of previous phases. ATLAS-3 focus on the validation of simulation models and methods for addressing complex phenomena of high safety relevance to thermal-hydraulic transients in DBA and BDBA. A new feature of the project is that the facility has been extended with a containment mock-up system (CUBE) and offers the possibility to perform tests covering thermalhydraulics in the reactor coolant system and in the containment.
The experimental programme is intended to provide a valuable and broadly usable database. In the NEA ATLAS Phase 3 Project, a total of 10 tests by utilising the extended ATLAS facility are conducted in five different research topics:
Related research on thermalhydraulics projects can be found at Integral Test Facilities and Thermal-Hydraulic System Codes in Nuclear Safety Analysis.
ATLAS: Belgium, China, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Japan, Korea, Russian Federation, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and the United States.
ATLAS-2 and ATLAS-3: Belgium, China, Czechia, France, Germany, Korea, Spain, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and the United States.
ATLAS: April 2014 - March 2017
ATLAS-2: October 2017 - September 2020
ATLAS-3: January 2021 - December 2024
ATLAS: EUR 2.5 million
ATLAS-2: EUR 3 million
ATLAS-3: EUR 4 million