American Nuclear Society

Home / Publications / Journals / Nuclear Technology / Volume 196 / Number 2

Benchmark Study of the Accident at the Fukushima Daiichi NPS: Best-Estimate Case Comparison

M. Pellegrini, K. Dolganov, L. E. Herranz, H. Bonneville, D. Luxat, M. Sonnenkalb, J. Ishikawa, J. H. Song, R. O. Gauntt, L. Fernandez Moguel, F. Payot, Y. Nishi

Nuclear Technology / Volume 196 / Number 2 / November 2016 / Pages 198-210

Technical Paper /

First Online Publication:September 26, 2016
Updated:November 2, 2016

The Great East Japan earthquake occurred on March 11, 2011, at 14:46, and the subsequent tsunami led Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO’s) Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (NPS) beyond a design-basis accident. After the accident, the Japanese government and TEPCO compiled a roadmap toward an early resolution to the accident including, among the main activities, the employment and improvement of existing severe accident (SA) computer codes. In the member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development/Nuclear Energy Agency (OECD/NEA), SA codes were developed after the accident at Three Mile Island Unit 2 and widely employed to assess NPS status in the postulated SA conditions. Therefore, working plans have been set up with the country members of the OECD/NEA to apply existing SA codes to analyze the accidents at the Fukushima Daiichi NPS Units 1, 2, and 3 and support the decommissioning, constituting an international program named Benchmark Study of the Accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (BSAF).

The objectives of the BSAF project are to analyze the accident progression of Fukushima Daiichi NPS, to raise the understanding of SA phenomena, to contribute to the improvement of the methods and models of the SA codes, and to define the status of the distribution of debris in the reactor pressure vessels and primary containment vessels for decommissioning.

The present technical paper summarizes the achievements obtained through a comparison of the results, emphasizing the portions of the accident where all the participants reached a common consensus and identifying still open questions where future work should be directed. Consensus exists on the current condition of Unit 1, where a large fraction of the fuel is assumed to have relocated ex-vessel. On the other hand, larger uncertainties exist for Units 2 and 3, where in-vessel and ex-vessel scenarios produce a reasonable prediction of the accident progression.