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.