Innovative approach to modeling accident response of Gravel Gerties

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Recent safety analyses at nuclear explosive facilities have renewed interest in the accident phenomenology associated with explosions in nuclear explosive cells, which are commonly referred to as {open_quotes}Gravel Gerties.{close_quotes} The cells are used for the assembly and disassembly of nuclear explosives and are located in the Device Assembly Facility (DAF) at the Nevada Test Site (NTS) and at the Pantex facility. The cells are designed to mitigate the release of special nuclear material to the environment in the event of a detonation of high explosive within the Gravel Gertie. Although there are some subtle differences between the cells of DAF ... continued below

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6 p.

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Kramer, M.; McClure, P. & Sullivan, H. August 1, 1997.

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Description

Recent safety analyses at nuclear explosive facilities have renewed interest in the accident phenomenology associated with explosions in nuclear explosive cells, which are commonly referred to as {open_quotes}Gravel Gerties.{close_quotes} The cells are used for the assembly and disassembly of nuclear explosives and are located in the Device Assembly Facility (DAF) at the Nevada Test Site (NTS) and at the Pantex facility. The cells are designed to mitigate the release of special nuclear material to the environment in the event of a detonation of high explosive within the Gravel Gertie. Although there are some subtle differences between the cells of DAF and Pantex, their general design, geometry, and configuration are similar. The cells consist of a round room approximately 10.4 m in diameter and 5.2 m high enclosed by 0.3-m-thick concrete. Each cell has a wire-rope cantenary roof overlain with gravel. The gravel is approximately 6.9 m deep at the center of the roof and decreases toward the outer edge of the cell. The cell is connected to a corridor and subsequent rooms through an interlocking blast door. In the event of a accidental explosion involving significant amounts of high explosive, the roof structure is lifted by the force of the explosion, the supporting cables break, the gravel is lifted by the blast (resulting in rapid venting of the cell), and the gravel roof collapses, filling the cell. The lifting and subsequent collapse of the gravel, which acts much like a piston, is very challenging to model.

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6 p.

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OSTI as DE97007369

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  • 1997 safety analysis workshop, Oakland, CA (United States), 9-13 Jun 1997

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  • Other: DE97007369
  • Report No.: LA-UR--97-1530
  • Report No.: CONF-970661--13
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-36
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 519130
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc690721

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • August 1, 1997

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Aug. 14, 2015, 8:43 a.m.

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  • Feb. 25, 2016, 7:47 p.m.

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Kramer, M.; McClure, P. & Sullivan, H. Innovative approach to modeling accident response of Gravel Gerties, article, August 1, 1997; New Mexico. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc690721/: accessed October 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.