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Nuclear thermal hydraulics

Prof. Yann Bartosiewicz – Université Catholique de Louvain

5 ECTS

150 hours study time


  • 30 contact hours theory
  • 24 contact hours exercises/laboratory sessions/visits
  • 14 contact hours personal work

    • To learn how to estimate the volumetric heat generation rate in fission reactor cores under normal operation and shutdown conditions
    • To learn how to analyse the thermal performance of nuclear fuel elements
    • To learn the basic fluid mechanics of single phase reactor cooling systems
    • To learn to calculate pressure drop in reactor systems, including tube bundles, and spacer grids
    • To learn to analyse the heat transfer characteristics of single phase reactor cooling systems
    • To learn the basic fluid mechanics of two-phase systems, including modelling approaches, flow regime maps, void-quality relations, and pressure drop evaluation
    • To learn the fundamentals of boiling heat transfer, and its implications for reactor design
    • To calculate and analyze the coolant conditions throughout a reactor loop including the determination of natural convection regime
    • To learn the fundamentals of core thermal design, e.g. flow rate/pressure drop relation under different conditions (friction dominated/gravity dominated) for the evaluation of cooling performances

    In addition of supervised exercises, a mini-project is organized about modelling and computing pressure drop in a boiling channel (different conditions and assumptions may be treated over the years).

    • Thermal design principles/reactor heat generation
    • Reminders about single phase transport equations (prerequisite)
    • Two-phase flow models, transport equations
    • Thermodynamic (vessels/pressurizer) and power conversion cycle (steam)
    • Heat transfer analysis in a fuel element
    • Reminders about single phase fluid mechanics and heat transfer (prerequisite)
    • Two-phase fluid mechanics and pressure drops
    • Two-phase heat transfer (pool boiling, flow boiling)
    • Single heated channel (thermal and flow problems)
    • Flow loops (steady state natural convection)
  • The PowerPoint presentations of the lectures, and extensive lecture notes, are available on the BNEN website.

    Other useful references:

    • Todreas, N.E. and Kazimi, M.S. Nuclear System I: Thermal Hydraulic Fundamentals,
    • Taylor & Francis, Boca Raton, 2012.
  • A relevant course about introduction to nuclear energy
    Fundamentals of fluid mechanics, heat transfer, thermodynamics

  • The final mark is composed of (i) a written exam (80%, closed book) including an exercise and a theoretical part, and (ii) evaluation of a mini-project (20%).

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