A destructive earthquake might be a rare event in the UK, but all eventualities need to be considered when working with nuclear reactors. “We seismically assess each of the UK’s AGR reactor cores. These assessments are used by EDF as evidence in their safety cases, demonstrating that the control rods can always be used to shut down and hold down a reactor, even during a one-in-10,000-year earthquake. “To produce these, one of the industry’s most complex models is required to simulate the effect of ground motions on the reactor core’s structural components. “There are three key challenges with this – the biggest is that the core has more than 6,000 graphite components, each with multiple contacts. This means the model is very complex, so we have written custom Abaqus/Explicit user elements to model specific interactions and vastly improve efficiency. Without this technology, our run times of about a day would be in the order of months.
IMech 23rd Nov 2020 read more »