Facility consists of the hemispherical test vessel, a volumetric heating system in the test vessel to simulate the decay heat, a heating furnace to generate and pour the simulated corium melt, and a multitude of instrumentation to characterize the status of the melt. The test vessel is a 1:5 scaled RPV of a typical PWR with no penetrations of the lower head, and is equipped with different measurement techniques like heat flux sensors and thermocouples. The hemispherical bottom is closed by an upper lid and different openings in this upper lid allow the pour of melt to the central region or close to the perimeter of the lower head. Test vessel can be cooled by water or air at the outer surface, as it is surrounded by a second cooling vessel.
The LIVE facility at the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe is designed to study the late phase of core degradation, onset of melting and the formation and stability of melt pools in the RPV. Additionally, the regaining of cooling and melt stabilisation in the RPV by flooding the outer RPV or by internal water supply have been investigated.
The experimental programme consists of three different phases. In the first phase (LIVE1) the investigations concentrate on the behavior of a molten pool, which is poured into the lower head of the RPV taking into account possible 3-d effects. The objective was to determine the time dependent local heat flux distribution to the lower head, and the development of crusts, depending on internal melt heating and external cooling modes. The gap formation between the RPV wall and the melt crust as well as the role of phase segregation of a non-eutectic, binary melt on the solidification behavior has been investigated. In the second phase (LIVE2) the experiments were extended to allow multiple melt pours and the presence of water in the lower head. The third phase (LIVE3) dealt with processes during in-core melt pool formation, the stability of the melt pools in the core region during different cooling modes and relocation processes after crust failure.
The experiments have been carried out with different simulant materials. The first melt was a binary mixture of NaNO3 and KNO3 with temperatures up to about 350 °C. In an advanced stage, the second melt was a binary mixture of V2O5 with CuO, MgO or ZnO with temperatures up to 900 °C.
Experiments in the LIVE facility were part of the LACOMERA Project of the EU 5th Framework Programme. Produced experimental database has been used to validate and improve computer models, which had being developed in the area of molten pool formation and cooling in the lower head.
Facility is in operation.