November 21, 2021
Conference Paper



The Department of Energy in collaboration with the Electric Power Research Institute is in the process of conducting the High Burnup Demonstration Project. Where the objective is to characterize the performance of high-burnup fuel in long term storage. As part of this demonstration, a TN-32B dry storage cask was instrumented and loaded with spent nuclear fuel at North Anna Nuclear Generating Station in November 2017. The project cask provides a unique opportunity to gain information on spent fuel and cask performance from an in-service operational system. The cask was instrumented with thermocouples inside of the fuel assemblies, then loaded and dried using normal procedures. After the drying process a thermal soak period where the cask was left indoors was used to obtain steady temperatures for model comparison along with surface temperatures. This paper details thermal modeling validation work that was done to model both the steady state and transient cases. Two modeling tools were used to predict temperatures in the cask. The general purpose CFD and heat transfer code STAR-CCM+ was used with both a detailed pin-by-pin model was used along with a more efficient k-effective simplification. The other code is COBRA-SFS, a purpose-built detailed thermal modeling tool developed and maintained at PNNL. Results from all the modeling tools were compared blind to the test data. Each model utilized general design information and compared reasonably well to the blind steady state data using convection and surface temperature boundary conditions. Post-test adjustments were later made to better reflect the “as built” conditions of the cask. Based on lessons learned from the steady state analysis the vacuum drying process was modeled in both codes. Utilizing the measured loading conditions the transient models were able to compare very well with the measured data. Overall the project showed an ability to model spent fuel storage conditions very well and future work is planned to generalize the methodology used for vacuum drying.

Published: November 21, 2021


Richmond D.J., J.A. Fort, and S.R. Suffield. 2021. "TRANSIENT THERMAL MODELING OF THE HIGH BURNUP DEMONSTRATION RESEARCH PROJECT CASK USING STAR-CCM+ AND COBRA-SFS." In Proceedings of the ASME Pressure Vessels and Piping Conference, (PVP 2021), July 13-15, 2021, Virtual, Online, 5, Paper No: PVP2021-62082, V005T07A031. New York, New York:ASME. PNNL-SA-150571. doi:10.1115/PVP2021-62082