A dynamic model of a passively cooled small modular reactor for controller design purposes

Samet E. Arda, Keith Holbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


An analytical dynamic model for a passively cooled small modular reactor (SMR) is developed using a state-variable lumped parameter approach. Reactor power is represented by the generation time formulation of the point kinetics equations with a single combined neutron precursor group. The heat transfer process in the core is described via an overall heat transfer coefficient by defining two coolant lumps paired to a single fuel lump. In addition, a thermal-hydraulics model for single-phase natural circulation is incorporated. For the helical-coil steam generator, a moving-boundary model including subcooled, two-phase, and superheated regions is utilized. Finally, the hot leg riser and downcomer regions are expressed by first-order lags. The performance of the overall system described by ordinary differential equations (ODEs) is evaluated by the Simulink dynamic environment and directly using a MATLAB ODE solver recommended for stiff systems. Simulation results based on NuScale SMR design data show that the initial steady-state values for 100% power are within range of the design data and the model can predict the system dynamics due to typical perturbations, e.g., control rod movement and change in feedwater mass flow rate and temperature. The model developed in this work can be utilized as a foundation for designing and testing a suitable control algorithm for reactor thermal power.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)218-230
Number of pages13
JournalNuclear Engineering and Design
StatePublished - May 22 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Mechanical Engineering


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