In the course of a severe accident, a large amount of hydrogen gas is generated by a metal-water reaction in a PCV (Primary Containment Vessel) of Light Water Reactors. Although the filter vent of gas mixture, which includes hydrogen and steam, is an effective method for the accident management of BWR that prevents the PCV overpressure, the filter vent at the early stage of severe accident may cause releasing radioactive material to environment. We have been developing the hydrogen treatment system to prevent excessive pressure without PCV vent and releasing radioactive material to environment.

We focus on the oxidation-reduction reaction of metal oxides with high reaction rates, for the hydrogen treatment system. Metal oxide material would be an effective device under low-oxygen conditions like PCV of BWR. The hydrogen treatment system mainly consists of a hydrogen processing unit, a blower and pipes. The hydrogen treatment unit has a lot of reaction pipes in which metal oxides are filled. Some fundamental chemical experiments which we have done have revealed that copper oxides (CuO) rapidly react with hydrogen to form cupper (Cu). Their results show that metal oxides are effective as hydrogen treatment elements. On the other hand, there are few evaluations for the characteristics of hydrogen treatment unit. The dependency of hydrogen treatment performance on gas temperature, hydrogen concentration and pressure is investigated in the present study.

We conducted experiments using a test section with one reaction pipe, which simulated a hydrogen processing unit. The processing materials granulated CuO, MnO2 and Co3O4 with 2mm diameter were used. Gradual increase of processing material temperature in the test section was observed along the gas streams caused by oxidation-reduction reaction after the mixing gases were supplied. Consequently, the hydrogen concentration at the outlet of the test section decreased with time. The increase of the hydrogen reaction rate was also observed with increase of gas temperature, hydrogen concentration and pressure. We have developed the thermal-chemical model of hydrogen processing unit from these experiment results, and confirmed that the model could predict the characteristics of a hydrogen processing unit qualitatively.

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