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DOI: 10.1615/ICHMT.1995.RadTransfProcHeatMassTransfSevNuclReactAcc.30

Themis P. Speis
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555


In October 1987, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission proposed that a joint international cooperative program be formed that would be sponsored by the Nuclear Energy Agency of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (NEA-OECD) to conduct further investigations of the potential damage to the TMI-2 reactor vessel lower head during the accident. This proposal was accepted by NEA-OECD and the project was initiated in 1988. The program was completed five years later. This paper discusses the results from this program and the related conclusions. It specifically addresses the findings regarding the extent and type of damage to the vessel lower head and the margin of structural integrity that remained in the vessel during the accident; the conditions for potential failure (which apparently were never reached); enhanced cooling mechanisms of the debris and lower head not currently accounted in severe accident analyses; and insights for severe accident management strategies. Finally, the results/conclusions from the program have pointed to a number of areas where further studies, including appropriate experiments, can add to our understanding of the conditions under which the reactor vessel can be cooled and its integrity maintained during a severe accident. Such efforts are already underway and they will be addressed in this paper, including their specific goals and significance.

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