U.S. Reactor Containment Technology: a Compilation of Current Practice in Analysis, Design, Construction, Test, and Operation, Volume 1 Page: 1-23
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the presence of fission products in spent fuel and by the infrequence of
the operation and consequent unfamiliarity of plant personnel with pro-
The only protection against the loading accident becomes administra-
tive procedure and an adequate shutdown margin. Bates,30 in reviewing
the shutdown systems for 18 power reactors, states the criteria for shut-
down margin as applied to ORNL reactors and concludes that for economic
reasons the shutdown margin in power reactors is minimal, with the result
that in several installations (e.g., Yankee and Saxton) a soluble poison,
as well as rod insertion, is required. It is evident why the fuel-loading
procedures usually contain the provision that the containment system be
tightly closed until sufficient fuel has been removed to provide an ade-
quate shutdown margin. Finally, the vulnerability to the loading accident
has been forcibly brought into prominence by the SL-1 accident.
1.2.4 Nuclear Safety Economics
Experience has shown that it is good, sound economics to emphasize
safety in all conventional plants and operations; however, in the case of
nuclear plants, the tie-in between safety and economics is considerably
more important. This greater emphasis occurs not only because of the
conditions under which nuclear energy was introduced into society but
also because the fission reaction gives rise to harmful radiation and
radioactive byproducts. Thus a nuclear reaction not only requires faster
response of the control system than a combustion reaction, but the con-
sequences of a control failure or malfunction can be more serious if
adequate engineered safeguards are not provided. The magnitude of the
problem of nuclear safety becomes obvious when it is realized that one
500-Mw(e) reactor contains about 12 billion curies of radioactive fission
products during operation. If even a small fraction of this amount of
radioactivity were released to the surroundings, it could conceivably con-
taminate a large area surrounding the plant. Thus a paramount factor in
the design of a nuclear plant is the incorporation of adequate means for
controlling the release of radioactive materials under all circumstances.
Some studies of nuclear safety economics32,33 have attempted to iden-
tify the nuclear plant cost factors attributable to the presence of radio-
activity. It has been shown34 that safety considerations necessitated by
radioactivity contribute directly and indirectly from 20% to as much as
65% of the total plant costs.
The objective of studying nuclear safety economics, however, is not
merely to single out costs attributable to the presence of radioactivity
but, rather, to establish the minimum cost of protecting plant personnel
and the public against the accidental release of radioactivity. This
problem can be approached by identifying costs of individual protective
devices and measures and finding which of these are redundant. In this
way it would be hoped that the most economical solution to the problem
of radiological safety could be found. The discussion of nuclear safety
economics is therefore limited to a summary of costs associated only with
the possible accidential release of radioactive material from the facility.
The primary contributors to nuclear plant costs that belong to this category
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Cottrell, William B. & Savolainen, A. W. U.S. Reactor Containment Technology: a Compilation of Current Practice in Analysis, Design, Construction, Test, and Operation, Volume 1, report, August 1965; Oak Ridge, Tennessee. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc101033/m1/51/: accessed March 26, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.