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A Reappraisal of Containment Safety Under Hydrogen Detonation

Abstract

The response of a typical steel-lined reinforced concrete nuclear reactor containment to postulated internal hydrogen detonations is investigated by detailed axisymetric non-linear dynamic finite element analysis. The wall pressure histories are calculated for hydrogen detonations using a technique that reproduces the sharp discontinuity at the shock front. The pressure results can be applied to geometrically similar vessels. The analysis indicates that the response is more sensitive to the point of initiation than to the strength of the detonation. Approximate solutions based on a pure impulse assumption where the containment is modelled as a single-degree-of freedom (SDOF) system may be seriously unconservative. This work becomes relevant because new nuclear reactors are foreseen as a primary of source of hydrogen supply.

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