Saturday, March 15, 2008
Friday, March 14, 2008
An 8 inch length of BWR fuel (depleted uranium dioxide in zircaloy cladding) was induction heated in pressurized water to the point of severe overtemperature. Three exploratory (probing) tests are reported here. The first test was at relatively modest conditions and the cladding remained intact. However,even in this case, there was an extensive reaction between the zircaloy and the uranium dioxide as the heated zircaloy was pressed against the uranium dioxide at the modestly high temperature.
The second test was at severe conditions and the heated section was essentially destroyed with the rapid oxidation of the zircaloy cladding and the extensive chemical reactions between the zircaloy and the uranium dioxide.
The third test was also at very severe conditions with the results of the second test and the production of molten alloy that froze to the specimen.
The following images and text is draft material from 1964. IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN SENSITIVE DOCUMENTATION, BUT IS NOW DISCLOSED. Remember, you may click on any image for enlargement.
Above is an exploded view of the test apparatus including the BWR fuel specimen.
Above is a specimen of Zircaloy tubing under exposure to water-steam at atmospheric pressure. This is not the test apparatus of this presentation; it is presented here as an illustration of the technique and the general appearance of the heated zone.
Although the macro slide (way above) indicates a very robust fuel rod with only discoloration from the heating in pressurized water steam, this slide shows that degradation of the assembly is underway. Note the ...
And more details.....
As I look back on this 1964 work today,October 1, 2008, it indeed was great exploratory research conducted in an atmosphere that was not conducive to this activity. In the second slide immediately above, a frozen melt is apparent. This frozen melt should have been sectioned for detailed study including chemical analysis; it was not.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Here is the text of the handwritten reply ( a bit more easily read).
Thanks for your note. Protecting power plants and other facilities against terrorism is a much larger topic than I could hope to address in the Journal article. Although nuclear plants are the largest risk in terms of damage potential I would not think that a well designed security system (like at North Dakota missile sites) would be prohibitively expensive. However, I have not really looked at it in detail.