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Nuclear Science and Engineering

Thermal Hydraulic Experimental Test Article

THETA is a 450-liter pool-type sodium facility that offers high fidelity experimental data for nuclear reactor systems code development.

The Thermal Hydraulic Experimental Test Article (THETA) will be installed in the Mechanisms Engineering Test Loop (METL) to develop sodium components and instrumentation as well as acquire experimental data for validation of reactor thermal hydraulic and safety analysis codes. The facility will simulate nominal conditions as well as protected/unprotected loss of flow accidents in a sodium-cooled fast reactor (SFR).  THETA is comprised of a traditional primary and secondary system. The primary system is submerged in the pool of sodium and consists of a pump, electrically heated core, intermediate heat exchanger, and connected piping and thermal barriers. A submersible flowmeter was designed and calibrated to acquire the flow rate of sodium across the core. The secondary system, located outside of the sodium pool, consists of a pump, sodium to air heat exchanger, and connected piping and valves. High fidelity distributed temperature profiles of the developed flow field will be acquired with Rayleigh backscatter based optical fiber temperature sensors. The facility is being designed in partnership with systems code experts to tailor the experiment to ensure the most relevant and highest quality data for code validation. The primary system has been tested in deionized water and will be installed in METL for sodium testing.