Development and verification of CFD model of furnace for carbothermal synthesis of mixed nitride uranium-plutonium fuel
The retort furnace for the carbothermal synthesis of mixed nitride uranium-plutonium (MNUP) fuel makes part of the Fabrication/Refabrication Module (FRM) at the Pilot Demonstration Energy Complex (PDEC). A CFD model of the furnace was developed with the SolidWorks Flow Simulation software to check the feasibility of thermophysical operating modes (heating and cooling rates, temperature of the product loaded into the furnace). The experimental data obtained from the furnace performance tests with the dummy fuel were used to verify the CFD model developed and to confirm its adequacy. The relative deviation of the calculated dummy fuel temperature from the experimental data in the process of isothermal annealing does not exceed 0.7%.
The dummy fuel temperature values obtained with the CFD model were used to justify the engineering solutions adopted for the MNUP carbothermal synthesis furnace. The CFD model can be used to define the furnace operation mode by selecting gas flow rates inside and outside the furnace retort, as well as the heaters temperature and the product heating and cooling rates.
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