The Geological Survey TRIGA reactor (GSTR) is a 1 MW Mark I TRIGA reactor located in Lakewood, Colorado. Single channel GSTR thermal hydraulics models built using RELAP5/MOD3.3, RELAP5-3D, TRACE, and COMSOL Multiphysics predict the fuel, outer clad, and coolant temperatures as a function of position in the core. The results from the RELAP5/MOD3.3, RELAP5-3D, and COMSOL models are similar. The TRACE model predicts significantly higher temperatures, potentially resulting from inappropriate convection correlations. To more accurately study the complex fluid flow patterns within the core, this research develops detailed RELAP5/MOD3.3 and COMSOL multichannel models of the GSTR core. The multichannel models predict lower fuel, outer clad, and coolant temperatures compared to the single channel models by up to 16.7 oC, 4.8 oC, and 9.6 oC, respectively, as a result of the higher mass flow rates predicted by these models. The single channel models and the RELAP5/MOD3.3 multichannel model predict that the coolant temperatures in all fuel rings rise axially with core height, as the coolant in these models flows predominantly in the axial direction. The coolant temperatures predicted by the COMSOL multichannel model rise with core height in the B-, C-, and D-rings and peak and then decrease in the E-, F-, and G-rings, as the coolant tends to flow from the bottom sides of the core to the center of the core in this model. Experiments at the GSTR measured coolant temperatures in the GSTR core to validate the developed models. The axial temperature profiles measured in the GSTR show that the flow patterns predicted by the COMSOL multichannel model are consistent with the actual conditions in the core. Adjusting the RELAP5/MOD3.3 single and multichannel models by modifying the axial and cross-flow areas allow them to better predict the GSTR coolant temperatures; however, the adjusted models still fail to predict accurate axial temperature profiles in the E-, F-, and G-rings.
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