Title: The Role of Structural Materials in the Vulnerability of Nuclear Power Plants
Other Contributors: DEBARBERIS LUIGI
Publisher: Springer
Publication Year: 2006
JRC N°: JRC30224
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC30224
Type: Articles in books
Abstract: The Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) dislocated world-wide are generally very robustly designed and constructed, capable to stand very extreme conditions. Small design differences from this point of view can be found among the various reactor types of the same generation; PWR, WWER, etc. The NPP structures can thus accommodate all originally thinkable unwanted conditions and are able to cope with various extreme scenarios and respond safely to the various considered event initiators. The list of such considered event initiators is almost exhaustive, and a series of complex redundant and diverse systems have been developed to avoid negative consequences, or at least mitigate the consequences of the events. Just as example, together with natural catastrophic events like tornados and earthquakes, aircraft impact has been also considered since the early days of nuclear power. The worst consequences of an event can contemplate huge environmental damage, like release of radio-acitivity combined with possible human losses and huge direct costs, and financial and logistic indirect consequences. Such negative consequences are especially impacting the nuclear industry; in fact, it can be foreseen that a single bad accident/incident may put in danger the complete NPP fleet operation simply due to public opinion justified pressure. To avoid any catastrophic release of radio-activity, a series of containment following a defence in depth concept, have been provided. Recently however, questions and debates are appearing with regard to the vulnerability of the NPPs and their possible exposure to external threats; such as for example terrorist attacks involving few individuals able to by-pass security and introducing small charges of explosive inside or near-by such containments. The role of the structural materials is in these situations very important for the safety of the NPP. The response of the structures is discussed and reviewed in this paper.
JRC Institute:Institute for Energy and Transport

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