Use of CAD models in ESFR-SMART EU project
As part of the Horizon 2020 European Union programme, research and development is under process on the European Sodium Fast Reactor in the framework of the European Sodium Fast Reactor Safety Measures Assessment and Research Tools (ESFR-SMART) project. In this project, a large commercial pool type sodium-cooled fast reactor is under development which requires state of the art research tools. One of the new approaches is the use of Computer Aided Design (CAD) software in which a 3D CAD model was developed, based on open literature, and has already proven its usefulness in many ways during the project. But the possibilities are only scratching the surface. As it is mainly a design tool, it has been used mostly to create the 3D design of the whole reactor system with its sub-systems. Through this process, the visualization of the project gave an unprecedented ease to the understanding of different concepts for project members, allowed to improve communication between the partners and finally helped to decrease the time needed for the development of the reactor system. In particular, this ease of visualization made it possible to assess new design ideas and whether they fit the existing space around the primary system of the ESFR. The CAD model serves as a basis for accurate physical measurements as well as to provide data on different physical properties such as material volumes, surfaces areas, etc. Next, this feature of the model has been used already in the project to provide information for the core catcher design’s criticality calculation as well as data about sodium volume to facilitate the reactor pit preliminary design. Among further possibilities of the model is time saving by providing already available input information for other research tools and system codes. For instance, detailed geometrical data can be provided for thermal hydraulic CFD (e.g. OpenFOAM) or neutronics Monte Carlo (e.g. Serpent) codes. Furthermore, the model serves as a common base for any kind of design change to keep track of the latest version of the design which helps documenting the project, providing instant access to the needed information. In addition, the CAD software employs built-in modules which provide greater visualization by making available the creation of videos of the reactor for demonstration purposes or even to use other technologies such as 3D printing to present the work on the project to the other researchers or to public. These possibilities show the originality and usefulness of a 3D CAD model and the new dimensions for future research activities.