In the frame of the implementation of fast breeder reactors in France initiated in the 1960’s, a lot of studies have been conducted by CEA/IPSN (now IRSN) on sodium fires and risks potentially induced by sodium in general. The experimental studies started at a fundamental level, in order to understand the basic phenomena concerning sodium fire. From 1972, R&D programs dealt with small and mid-scale experiments aiming at gathering knowledge for the development of physical models and computer codes. Dedicated experimental facilities were built, in order to (1) explore pool and jet sodium fires in confined environment, specific of the nuclear industry, atmospheric dispersion of the aerosols when released and sodium-concrete reaction, and (2) develop technological equipment (water scrubber, instrumentation for detection, active and passive mitigation systems, etc.). Gradually, the benefit from this R&D led to improve and qualify computer codes, and to improve the safety of fast breeder reactors and other facilities involving sodium. With the construction of the fast breeder reactor SUPERPHENIX in France, real scale tests appeared necessary with the objective of exploring scale effects and qualifying codes used for safety assessment. This was the aim of the ESMERALDA program launched in 1982 that consisted of performing, until 1989, 26 experiments for the purpose of the SUPERPHENIX safety assessment, apart high flowrate jet fires that were not included in the program from its start. Therefore, the additional test series IGNA 3600 and 2000 was performed in the ESMERALDA facility, owing to extend the qualification field of the computer codes used in safety assessment and to bring modifications on the reactor.
The presentation aims at giving an overview of these programs, and at sharing knowledge learnt from these important tests, that can be profitable for improving risk analysis of generation IV SFRs including SMRs.
The presentation aims at giving an overview of these programs, and at sharing knowledge learnt of from these important tests, that can profitable for improving risk analysis of generation IV reactors and SMRs.
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