[ RadSafe ] Chernobyl and Ft. Saint Vrain

jjshonka at shonka.com jjshonka at shonka.com
Mon Oct 5 12:55:14 CDT 2015


you said: 

 As I remember, the Fort St. Vrain plant was He cooled, not CO2, designed  by General Atomics.   It was leak tested with N and no leaks were found.  Of course, He is a smaller atom and it leaked.  Hence, it was shut down. 

The loss of He at Vrain was not the cause of the problem.  You could replace He.  The problem was the seal leaks of water into the reactor from the coolant pumps.  Every two molecules of water that leaked into the core converted a carbon atom in the graphite moderator to CO2.  The relatively frequent shutdowns to repair leaking seals, and drying the core prior to startup were time consuming and kept the reactor for attaining its design performance.  I guess some engineer at GA (the company, not the state) regretted putting the pumps into primary, rather than dealing with the vibration of a long shaft with external pumps.

Joe Shonka   

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