May 23, 2011

Lessons on venting reactor primary containment.

U.S. Was Warned on Vents Before Failure at Japan’s Plant
WASHINGTON — Five years before the crucial emergency vents at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant were disabled by an accident they were supposed to help handle, engineers at a reactor in Minnesota warned American regulators about that very problem.

The Importance of Venting, When a Reactor Threatens to Blow Its Stack

When the reactors were designed in the 1960s, the idea was that in the event of an accident, all of the radioactive materials would be bottled up in the primary containment. This was itself a philosophical reversal, in the sense that it was an acknowledgment that it might be impossible to hold everything in.