High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactor (HTGR) is a typical representation of Generation IV nuclear power system for its advantages like inherent safety, high efficiency, widely application as high-temperature heat source. The first two 250-MWt high temperature reactor pebble bed modules (HTR-PM) have be installing at the Shidaowan plant in Shandong Province, China, which have the cylindrical core structure with thousands of spherical fuel elements randomly packed inside. The values of the effective thermal conductivity of the pebble bed core under different temperatures are essential parameters for the design of HTGR, which are needed to analyze the maximum fuel temperature, temperature distribution and residual heat releasing ability in reactor core. For this purpose, Tsinghua University in China has proposed a full-scale heat transfer experiment to conduct comprehensive thermal transfer tests in packed pebble bed and to determine the effective thermal conductivity through the pebble bed under vacuum condition and helium environment with temperature up to 1600°C.
An essential material test equipment is built in advance to provide reliable materials and technical support for the design of the final experimental device aimed at measuring the effective thermal conductivity of pebble bed type reactor core of the high temperature gas-cooled reactor. The design of the essential material test equipment is introduced in detail, including the heat element, the insulation structure, the temperature detector, cooling water system, vacuum system, hydraulic lifting system, data acquisition system and so on. Several key technologies in design are described in detail. Test temperature in the equipment was elevated up to 1600°C, which covers the whole temperature range of the normal operation and accident condition of HTGR and could fully meet the test requirements of materials used in the reactor. The construction and commissioning of the test equipment shows that the test equipment has met the design requirements and verified the feasibility of the related materials and structures.