John D. Gabor - Western Springs IL
John C. Cassulo - Stickney IL
Dean R. Pedersen - Naperville IL
Lou Bake - Downers Grove IL
The United States of America as represented by the United States
Department of Energy - Washington DC
The invention teaches safety apparatus that can be included in a nuclear reactor, either when newly fabricated or as a retrofit add-on, that will minimize proliferation of structural damage to the reactor in the event the reactor is experiencing an overheating malfunction whereby radioactive nuclear debris might break away from and be discharged from the reactor core. The invention provides a porous bed or sublayer on the lower surface of the reactor containment vessel so that the debris falls on and piles up on the bed. Vapor release elements upstand from the bed in some laterally spaced array. Thus should the high heat flux of the debris interior vaporize the coolant at that location, the vaporized coolant can be vented downwardly to and laterally through the bed to the vapor release elements and in turn via the release elements upwardly through the debris. This minimizes the pressure buildup in the debris and allows for continuing infiltration of the liquid coolant into the debris interior.