[ RadSafe ] Zirconium Cladding of Fuel Rods - Reaction With Water

Larry Addis ajess at clemson.edu
Sat Mar 12 20:31:53 CST 2011

I had to wonder if Zirc failure was the source of the Hydrogen. But
"serious" fuel failure would have resulted in much higher dose rate
measurements from a release of primary pressure to the environment -
wouldn't it?

Dry well is in good shape probably?


-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu
[mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Roger Helbig
Sent: Saturday, March 12, 2011 8:34 PM
To: 'The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing List'
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Zirconium Cladding of Fuel Rods - Reaction With Water

The NEI advised that the Hydrogen gas that is the probable cause of the
explosion at Fukushima #1 Reactor was generated when the Zirconium cladding
of the fuel rod was exposed - how did this exposure generate the Hydrogen

"It appears that as the level of coolant in the reactor vessel lowered, a
portion of the top of the uranium fuel rods was exposed. This may have
caused zirconium cladding of the fuel rods to react with water to create
hydrogen. This hydrogen was vented, then somehow ignited, causing the

Web Elements says that Zirconium does not react with water under normal

Reaction of zirconium with water

"Zirconium does not react with water under normal conditions."


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