[ RadSafe ] Melting a reactor?? That a delinquent operator can do more damage from out side is an exaggeration
parthasarathy k s
ksparth at yahoo.co.uk
Sun Jan 2 23:42:33 CST 2011
I am surprised to note that the first sentence in the quote went unchallenged.
All reactors can be shut down quickly if anything goes wrong Modern reactors
have two fast acting shut down systems in addition to other reliable systems to
shut them down. Reliability is assured by redundancy and diversity.
Even when the reactor is shut down the heat energy released from the fuel due to
decay of radionuclides accumulated when the reactor was operating is substantial
at about 15 % of the full power. It is sufficient to melt the core.
It is not the melted core that damages the containment. The break of the coolant
channel may cause a loss of coolant accident. The containment is designed to
maintain its integrity in a design based accident. It can with stand the
pressure exerted due to rapid release of steam released when the coolant tries
to quench the heat from a heated nuclear core.
We have to continuously operate the coolant system even when a reactor is shut
down. Designs of the reactors are fairly standardized. Location of the coolant
system is not a secret. That a delinquent operator is more equipped to do
serious damage from outside is an exaggeration.
Over all security measures which are already strengthened will take care of all
eventuality. Appropriate security clearances for the personnel must be in place.
While we must analyze all possibilities, we need not go overboard by scary
conditions described by ill informed columnists.
From: Steven Dapra <sjd at swcp.com>
To: radsafe at agni.phys.iit.edu
Sent: Mon, 3 January, 2011 7:45:57
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Melting a reactor??
This quote is from an editorial page article written by Charles Faddis and
published in the NY Times.
"But there's no way to quickly shut off a reactor: the heat that builds up
inside it is so intense that even if something goes wrong, cooling water must
continue to circulate through its systems for days before it is safe.
"If the cooling system malfunctions, even if the rest of the plant is operating
safely, the heat will literally melt the reactor and its concrete containment
shell, releasing radioactive gas into the atmosphere in other words, a partial
nuclear meltdown like that at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania in 1979."
Is it true that reactor heat will melt the containment vessel ("shell")?
The link to the Faddis' NYT article is:
You are currently subscribed to the RadSafe mailing list
Before posting a message to RadSafe be sure to have read and understood the
RadSafe rules. These can be found at:
For information on how to subscribe or unsubscribe and other settings visit:
More information about the RadSafe