Small pressurized water reactors (PWRs) have become a new trend in the current nuclear energy development due to their many advantages, such as compact equipment layout, high thermal efficiency, and strong cycle capability. Compared with large PWRs, small PWRs are designed to reduce the coolant inventory and increase the core power density, which is not good for nuclear safety. Severe accident studies on large PWRs cannot be directly applied to small PWRs. Loss of coolant accident is one of the main inducements of reactor core melting, which needs to be focused on prevention and treatment. It is of great significance for the safe operation of small PWRs to analyze and study severe accident induced by loss of coolant accident.
In this paper, MELCOR is used to establish the severe accident analysis model of the primary loop system of a small PWR, and the loss of coolant accident is introduced to obtain the accident sequence from the shutdown of the reactor until the core degradation. At the same time, the core pressure, core liquid level and other key parameters are analyzed.
The results show that in the case of a severe accident, compared with the large PWR, the small PWR takes a faster time for the pressure of the primary circuit and the containment pressure to reach equilibrium after the break accident occurs. The unbalanced radial power distribution causes the cladding of the 3rd ring to fail first. In the later stage of the severe accident, the melt plays a major role in heating the coolant. During the entire core degradation process, the upper fuel assemblies start to melt first, and the core does not completely collapse. The research results can provide reference for the formulation of severe accident management guidelines for small PWRs.