Steam explosion potential for an unseated SRS reactor septifoil

David K. Allison, M. Lee Hyder, Winston W.F. Yau, David C. Smith

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Control rods in the Savannah River Site's K Reactor are contained within housings composed of seven channels ('septifoils'). Each septifoil is suspended from the top of the reactor and is normally seated on an upflow pin that channels coolant to the septifoil. Forced flow to the septifoil would be eliminated in the unlikely event of a septifoil unseated upon installation i.e.. if the septifoil is not aligned with its upflow pin. If this event were not detected, control rod melting and the interaction of molten metal with water might occur. This paper describes a methodology used to address the issue of steam explosions that might arise by this mechanism. The probability of occurrence of a damaging steam explosion given an unseated septifoil was found to be extremely low. The primary reasons are: (1) the high probability that melting will not occur, (2) the possibility of material holdup by contact with the outer septifoil housing. (3) the relative shallowness of the pool of water into which molten material might fall, (4) the probable absence of a trigger. and (5) the relatively large energy release required to damage a nearby fuel assembly. The methodology is based upon the specification of conditions prevailing within the septifoil at the time molten material is expected to contact water, and upon information derived from the available experimental data base, supplemented by recent prototypic experiments.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes
EventProceedings of the 2nd ASME-JSME Nuclear Engineering Joint Conference. Part 1 (of 2) - San Francisco, CA, USA
Duration: Mar 21 1993Mar 24 1993


ConferenceProceedings of the 2nd ASME-JSME Nuclear Engineering Joint Conference. Part 1 (of 2)
CitySan Francisco, CA, USA


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