Nuclear Safety in Light Water Reactors

Nuclear Safety in Light Water Reactors

Severe Accident Phenomenology

1st Edition - December 5, 2011

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  • Editors: Bal Raj Sehgal, SARNET
  • eBook ISBN: 9780123919069
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780123884466

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This vital reference is the only one-stop resource on how to assess, prevent, and manage severe nuclear accidents in the light water reactors (LWRs) that pose the most risk to the public. LWRs are the predominant nuclear reactor in use around the world today, and they will continue to be the most frequently utilized in the near future. Therefore, accurate determination of the safety issues associated with such reactors is central to a consideration of the risks and benefits of nuclear power. This book emphasizes the prevention and management of severe accidents to teach nuclear professionals how to mitigate potential risks to the public to the maximum extent possible.

Key Features

  • Organizes and presents all the latest thought on LWR nuclear safety in one consolidated volume, provided by the top experts in the field, ensuring high-quality, credible and easily accessible information
  • Explains how developments in the field of LWR severe accidents have provided more accurate determinations of risk, thereby shedding new light on the debates surrounding nuclear power safety, particularly in light of the recent tragedy in Japan
  • Concentrates on prevention and management of accidents, developing methodologies to estimate the consequences and associated risks


Engineers in national safety authorities and supporting Technical Safety Organizations (TSOs), Engineers at nuclear plant utility companies, Plant Designers, Researchers in national laboratories and nuclear research institutes

Table of Contents

  • Preface

    1. Light Water Reactor Safety
    1.1. Introduction
    1.2. The Early Days
    1.3. The Development of Civilian LWRs
    1.4. Early Safety Assesments
    1.5. The Siting Criteria
    1.6. Safety Philosophy
    1.7. Safety Design Basis
    1.8. Public Risk of Nuclear Power (WASH-1400)
    1.9. The TMI-2 Accident
    1.10. The Chernobyl Accident
    1.11. The Difficult Years
    1.12. Severe Accident Research
    1.13. Severe Accident Management
    1.14. The Fukushima Accidents
    1.15. New LWR Plants

    2. In-Vessel Core Degradation
    2.1. Introduction
    2.2. Core Degradation in PWR
    2.3. Accident Progression in the Lower Plenum
    2.4. Lower Head Failure
    2.5. High-pressure Accidents in PWR
    2.6. Specific Features of BWR
    2.7. VVER (Eastern PWR)

    3. Early Containment Failure
    3.1. Hydrogen Behavior and Control in Severe Accidents
    3.2. Direct Containment Heating (DCH)
    3.3. Steam Explosion in Light Water Reactors
    3.4. Integrity of Containment Structures

    4. Late Containment Failure
    4.1. Debris Formation and Coolability
    4.2. Corium Spreading
    4.3. Corium Concrete Interaction and Basemat Failure

    5. Fission Product Release and Transport
    5.1. Introduction
    5.2. Fission Product Inventory and Variations
    5.3. In-vessel Fission Product Release
    5.4. Fission Product Transport in the Reactor Coolant System
    5.5. Containment Bypass
    5.6. Ex-vessel Fission Product Release
    5.7. Fission Product Transport in Containment

    6. Severe Accident Management
    6.1. Severe Accident Management Guidelines (SAMG)
    6.2. Techniques Applied in Severe Accident Management Guidelines
    6.3. In-Vessel Melt Retention as a Severe Accident Management Strategy
    6.4. Ex-Vessel Corium Retention Concept

    7. Environmental Consequences and Management of a Severe Accident
    7.1. Introduction
    7.2. Basic Phenomena
    7.3. Exposure Pathways
    7.4. Emergency Planning
    7.5. Tools for the Assessment of Severe Accident Consequences

    8. Integral Codes for Severe Accident Analyses
    8.1. Introduction
    8.2. Process of Code Assessment
    8.3. Description of the Main Severe Accident Integral Codes
    8.4. Validation of the Integral Codes 8.5. Some Perspectives for Integral Codes
    Appendix 1. Corium Thermodynamics and Thermophysics
    Appendix 2. Severe Accidents in PHWR Reactors Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 740
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2011
  • Published: December 5, 2011
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9780123919069
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780123884466

About the Editors

Bal Raj Sehgal

Dr. Bal Raj Sehgal is recognized as one of the top‐tier nuclear scientists in the world. He has contributed to the fields of reactor safety, physics, and engineering for 40+ years, through his involvement in R&D at two major US national laboratories (Argonne and Brookhaven), the Electric Power Research Institute, Purdue University, MIT, University of California at Berkeley and the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology. He is internationally recognized for his research publications, and for his many contributions to the profession, particularly in the realm of light water reactor design and analysis.

Dr. Sehgal was appointed as Chair Professor of Nuclear Power Safety at the Royal Institute of Technology in 1991, where he initiated and developed a large research program on reactor safety, which is supported by the US, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland and the EU, and is considered to be one of the finest in the world. For the past 22 years, Dr. Sehgal has been active in the "Severe Accident" area, managing projects at major players such as Westinghouse, and General Electric, and serving as a reviewer to NRC and the OECD (CSNI).

Dr. Seghal has lectured extensively at conferences and institutions across the globe, from Sao Paolo and Stuttgart to Beijing and Kyoto. Prof. Sehgal is active in the nuclear power safety community in the US, Japan, Europe and Sweden. He has been invited to provide expert review of the technical aspects of research programs from Italy to the US and Russia, and has coordinated several very large European Union (EU) research programs.

Prof. Sehgal has published extensively over his career, having produced more than 360 peer‐reviewed papers and reports in various esteemed journals and conference proceedings. He served as the North American Executive Editor of the Pergamon Press journal "Progress in Nuclear Energy," and currently serves on the Editorial Board of Elsevier’s journal, “Nuclear Engineering and Design”.

He has been the recipient of many prestigious awards from the American Nuclear Society, including the Glenn Seaborg Medal, as well as the Distinguished Scientist Award from the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute. He was elected a Fellow of the American Nuclear Society in 1983, a Fellow of the ASME in 1998, and as the foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences in 2003.

Affiliations and Expertise

Emeritus Chair Professor of Nuclear Power Safety, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden


47 organizations from 24 countries (including Europe plus the USA, Canada, Korea, India, Japan) have come together to network their capacities of research in SARNET (Severe Accident Research NETwork of Excellence). Their aim is to resolve the most important remaining uncertainties and safety issues on severe accidents in existing and future water-cooled nuclear power plants. After a first project in the 6th Framework Programme (FP6) of the European Commission, the SARNET2 project, coordinated by the IRSN, started in April 2009 for 4 years in the FP7 frame. Joint research projects are performed by the partners through new experiments, physical modelling and model implementation in computer simulation codes. For dissemination of knowledge, the network organizes periodic education courses and it has gathered 45 authors to write this book, inclusive of approximately 30 years of research on the phenomenology of severe accidents.

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