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Nuclear Science and Engineering Division

Natural Convection Shutdown Heat Removal Test Facility

Argonne’s Passive Natural Convection Shutdown Heat Removal Test Facility provides capability to conduct safety experiments in support of modern reactor design.

Argonne National Laboratory’s Natural Convection Shutdown Heat Removal Test Facility (NSTF) is a state-of-the-art, large-scale facility for evaluating performance capabilities of decay heat removal systems. NSTF’s purpose is to:

  • Examine passive safety for future nuclear reactors;
  • Provide a user facility to explore alternative reactor design concepts; and
  • Generate benchmarking data to validate advanced computer simulations.

After nearly four years of construction, experimental testing of the 26-m tall NSTF began in early 2014. The test facility has since operated for over 2,200+ hours, producing sixteen accepted tests at NQA-1. Studies were performed at full-scale normal operation, design basis accident, as well as off-normal scenarios to help scientists understand the heat removal performance of the RCCS  concept under different conditions. As of July 2016, the NSTF has successfully concluded the air-based portion of the testing program, with conversion to a water-cooled design currently in progress. Startup testing is anticipated to begin in late 2017.

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