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"Vibration tests of an underwater free-standing 2-rack system" presented at CERI2018 by Alberto Gonzalez


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Nuclear power plants are responsible for the spent fuel management. Closely spaced racks submerged in a pool are generally used to store and to cool the nuclear fuel. A free-standing design allows to isolate the rack base from the pool floor and therefore to reduce the impact of seismic loads. However, the seismic response of free-standing racks is difficult to predict accurately using theoretical models given the uncertainties associated with inertial forces, geometrical nonlinearities and fluid-structure interactions. An ad-hoc analysis methodology has been developed to overcome these difficulties in a cost-effective way, but some dispersion of results still remains. In order to validate the analysis methodology, experimental tests are carried out on a scaled 2-rack mock-up equipped with fake fuel assemblies. The two rack units are submerged in free-standing conditions inside a rigid pool tank and subjected to accelerations on a unidirectional shaking table. A hydraulic jack induces a given acceleration time-history while a set of sensors and gauges monitor the transient response of the system. Accelerometers track the acceleration of the pool and units. Load cells measure the impact forces on the rack supports as well as the fluid forces at the centre of the rack faces. Video cameras record the transient displacements and rotations. Results provide evidence of a water-coupling effect leading to an in-phase motion of the units.

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"Vibration tests of an underwater free-standing 2-rack system" presented at CERI2018 by Alberto Gonzalez

  1. 1. Workshop CERI, UCD, Dublin Wednesday 29th August 2018
  2. 2. Alberto Gonzalez, Luis Costas and Arturo González Vibration tests of an underwater free-standing 2- rack system
  3. 3. Free-standing spent fuel racks Spent Fuel Pool 6x4 racks Fuel storage rack unit ~4m ~12m Nuclear Fuel assemblies Steel structures designed to store nuclear spent fuel assemblies removed from the nuclear power reactor. • Slightly spaced by only a few centimeters, • free-standing conditions, • submerged in water.
  4. 4. Spent Fuel Pool Fuel assembly Rack unit Physical model • 2-rack mockup → interactions and hydrodynamic coupling forces. • Geometrical scale = 1/3 ; acceleration and density scale = 1/1 • Multiple testing configurations: clearance, fuel loading distribution, friction coefficients, ground accelerations, etc. Racks 2 units Rack cells 3x4 units Rack length 1919 mm Rack width 696 mm Rack height 1774 mm Rack-pool wall clearance 40 mm Rack-rack clearance 33 mm Pool liner Fuel dummies Rigid pool Load Cell Rack 2 Rack 1 Rack support Hydraulic jack Vibration table Pool coaming
  5. 5. Data acquisition system CAM R2 P1 P2 P3 P4P7 P6 P5 A1 LC1 R1 Z X CAM • An accelerometer (AC1) boarded on the vibration table. • A load cell (LC1) placed at the contact between the rack support and the pool floor. • Pressure sensors (P1-P7) record the hydrodynamic pressures at different locations on the rack sides as well as on the pool walls, • Video cameras (CAM) attached to the vibration table film the motion of respective targets through transparent windows on the pool walls. They return the 3D relative displacements and rotations of the rack units.
  6. 6. Acceleration time-history
  7. 7. Rack response: displacements
  8. 8. Rack response: displacements
  9. 9. Rack response: reactions
  10. 10. Rack response: hydrodynamic forces
  11. 11. Hydrodynamic pressure field
  12. 12. Conclusions • Sliding response: units slide over the pool floor following the pool shakings. • In-phase motion: separation between units slightly evolves. • Hydrodynamic pressures between units are a fraction of the external pressures raised between racks and pool walls. • Pressure falls (up to 25%) near the rack edges as a consequence of the loss of confinement of the streamlines. A 3D analysis is required to assess the real pressure distribution. • Divergences between vibration tests and numerical analysis cumulate from the beginning and propagate throughout the seismic duration. Fortunately, only the macroscopic behavior is needed for a proper rack design.
  13. 13. The TRUSS ITN project ( has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 642453 Thanks for your attention