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MELCOR Simulations of the Severe Accident at Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3

Jeffrey Cardoni, Randall Gauntt, Donald Kalinich, and Jesse Phillips

Nuclear Technology

Volume 186 / Number 2 / May 2014 / Pages 179-197


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In response to the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station in Japan, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and U.S. Department of Energy agreed to jointly sponsor an accident reconstruction study as a means of assessing the severe accident modeling capability of the MELCOR code. Objectives of the project included reconstruction of the accident progressions using computer models and accident data, and validation of the MELCOR code and the Fukushima models against plant data. A MELCOR 2.1 model of the Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3 reactor is developed using plant-specific information and accident-specific boundary conditions, which involve considerable uncertainty due to the inherent nature of severe accidents. Publicly available thermal-hydraulic data and radioactivity release estimates have evolved significantly since the accidents. Such data are expected to continually change as the reactors are decommissioned and more measurements are performed. The MELCOR simulations in this work primarily use boundary conditions that are based on available plant data as of May 2012.

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