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Metz on Harold Denton: Memories of a life in nuclear safety
A number of years ago, historian and writer Chuck Metz Jr. was at the Bush’s Visitor Center in Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains when he ran into former Nuclear Regulatory Commission official Harold Denton and his wife. Metz was at the visitor center, which opened in 2010 and is now a tourist hotspot, because, as he explained to the Dentons at the time, he had overseen the development of its on-site museum and had written a companion coffee-table history book.
The chance meeting turned into a friendship and a fruitful collaboration. Denton, who in 1979 was the public spokesperson for the NRC as the Three Mile Island-2 accident unfolded, had been working on his memoir, but he was stuck. He asked Metz for help with the organization and compilation of his notes. “I was about to retire,” Metz said, “but I thought that exploring the nuclear world might be an interesting change of pace.”
Denton passed away in 2017, but by then Metz had spent many hours with his fast friend and was able to complete the memoir, Three Mile Island and Beyond: Memories of a Life in Nuclear Safety, which was published recently by ANS. Metz shared some of his thoughts about Denton and the book with Nuclear News. The interview was conducted by NN’s David Strutz.
S. N. Kim
Nuclear Technology | Volume 177 | Number 2 | February 2012 | Pages 188-202
Technical Paper | Thermal Hydraulics | dx.doi.org/10.13182/NT12-A13365
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
The in-containment refueling water storage tank (IRWST) is an advanced design concept that has been adopted for the APR-1400 (a reactor type recently developed by Korea). It condenses high-temperature high-pressure fluid discharged from the reactor cooling system through pressurizer relief valves during transients. The condensation of high enthalpy fluid increases the temperature of the coolant in the IRWST. If the temperature of the water storage tank exceeds the temperature limit of 93.3°C (bubble escape temperature), oscillatory vibration occurs, and part of the steam does not condense and instead rises until it is discharged to the air inside the water storage tank. This phenomenon burdens a mechanical load upon the water storage tank structure and thereby compromises structural integrity of the IRWST. In particular, as the IRWST spargers are installed asymmetrically, they cause an uneven temperature distribution and then raise the topical temperature to the bubble escape temperature so prematurely that the cooling efficiency of the IRWST water storage tank may deteriorate.To improve the previous experiment [KSME Int. J., 18, 820 (2004)] and simulate these conditions, a cylindrical water storage tank was fabricated with a height and volume ratio identical to the actual IRWST, that is, 1:1 and 1:400, respectively; then, the steam condensation pattern and temperature distribution inside the water storage tank were observed and measured. The result of the experiment revealed that the horizontal temperature distribution was quite uniform and that the temperature was the highest on the surface of the water except near the sparger; in particular, the temperature of the surface of the water between the two spargers was the highest. And, a relatively uniform vertical temperature rise was observed. However, in the lower part of the tank (lower than 40 cm from the end of the bottom hole), the distribution revealed many interesting things related to the natural convection flow patterns. Also, when bubbles escaped at the temperature limit, a severe vibration and an attendant noise were observed.