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Fast Reactor Nuclear Power Plant Safety: A Review of Sodium Release Fire Scenarios

pubblicazioni - Articolo

Fast Reactor Nuclear Power Plant Safety: A Review of Sodium Release Fire Scenarios

La memoria affronta il tema della sicurezza degli impianti nucleari a reattori veloci ed in particolare analizza degli scenari di incendio da sodio.

Generation IV nuclear reactors are a set of systems whose designs are currently object of several researches, with the main goals of  improving four key-issues (sustainability, economics, safety and reliability, proliferation resistance and physical protection). The Sodium-cooled Fast Reactor system, in particular, is a Gen IV fast-neutrons spectrum reactor, using liquid sodium as coolant, that make possible efficient fuel cycle and management of actinides (plutonium, neptunium, americium, curium, californium). Liquid sodium has good properties as coolant, but implies a significant risk if a leak occurs in the cooling system, as sodium is a very reactive metal with oxygen and water. A sodium fire can have a significant effect even the HRR produced by combustion is usually much less compared to conventional hydrocarbon fires, and its burning is accompanied by production of opaque and dense sodium oxide smoke. Besides, metal sodium has a fast exothermic reaction with liquid water or steam to form sodium hydroxide and hydrogen. This paper presents a literature review of the current state-of-knowledge related to liquid sodium behavior in safety relevant cases and of some past incident experiences.

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