THE EBR-I MELTDOWN--PHYSICAL AND METALLURGICAL CHANGES IN THE CORE. Final Report--Metallurgy Program 7.2.18

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As a result of the partial meltdown which occurred in EBR-1 on November 29, 1955, it was necessary to remove the core assembly from the reactor and to separate the enriched fuel section from upper and lower unenriched blanket sections. A temporary cave was constructed on top of the reactor in order to remove the core assembly, and at this time about one-fourth of the fuel elements were removed. In order to perform further disassembly operations under less hazardous conditions, the core assembly was shipped from the Idaho Division of Argonne National Laboratory, at the National Reactor Testing Station, to ... continued below

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Kittel, J.H.; Novick, M. & Buchanan, R.F. November 1, 1957.

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As a result of the partial meltdown which occurred in EBR-1 on November 29, 1955, it was necessary to remove the core assembly from the reactor and to separate the enriched fuel section from upper and lower unenriched blanket sections. A temporary cave was constructed on top of the reactor in order to remove the core assembly, and at this time about one-fourth of the fuel elements were removed. In order to perform further disassembly operations under less hazardous conditions, the core assembly was shipped from the Idaho Division of Argonne National Laboratory, at the National Reactor Testing Station, to the Lemont, Illinois, site of the Laborntory, where disassembly was completed in a protective atmosphere. It was found that approximately 40 to 50% of the core had melted and reached temperatures ranging between approximately 850 and 1400 deg C, and that the molten portion had separated into three clearly defined zones characterized by different porosities. Densities of the zones ranged from 2.5 to 15.4 gm. cm/sup 3/, depending upon the degree of porosity. It was also found that molten fuel alloy had traveled upwnrd 5 inches and downward 3 inches between the blanket rods. Chemical and mass spectrographic analyses indicated that relatively little mixing occurred in the core during the period in which it was molten, that the fuel alloy which penetrated the blanket sections originated primarily from outer part of the molten zone, and that the blanket did not enter the molten phase. Observations during disassembly of the core and subsequent simulated meltdown experiments indicated that the porous structure which formed in the molten core could have resulted from the vaporization of cntrained NaK. (auth)

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  • Other Information: Orig. Receipt Date: 31-DEC-58

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  • Report No.: ANL-5731
  • Grant Number: W-31-109-ENG-38
  • DOI: 10.2172/4322934 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 4322934
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc1016948

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  • November 1, 1957

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  • Oct. 15, 2017, 10:09 p.m.

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  • Oct. 30, 2017, 3:26 p.m.

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Kittel, J.H.; Novick, M. & Buchanan, R.F. THE EBR-I MELTDOWN--PHYSICAL AND METALLURGICAL CHANGES IN THE CORE. Final Report--Metallurgy Program 7.2.18, report, November 1, 1957; Lemont, Illinois. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1016948/: accessed June 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.