Safety Features of Operating Light Water Reactors of Western Design

by Mirela Gavrilas, Pavel Hejzlar, Neil E. Todreas, and Youssef Shatilla

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(Hard cover edition is no longer available)

From the Foreword

This text arose from a study originally undertaken for the Department of Energy to characterize the principal safety features of light water reactors of western design. It soon became apparent that these features could most effectively be presented by identifying them for each standard reactor type designed by a western reactor vendor. However, identification of these standard reactor types was not obvious because some vendors, notably ABB-Atom for boiling water reactors and Westinghouse for pressurized water reactors, did not give all their plants standard designations.

With the assistance of the relevant western reactor vendors and safety authorities, such an identification was made for all currently operating light water reactors during this study. For each operating plant we identify its family by assigning it to a standard type according to its principal features, and dates of order and initial commercial operation. Further, the history of licensing and technical exchange agreements among vendors has been described because such interchanges have contributed to significant parallelism in the design of the boiling light water reactors and in the design of pressurized light water reactors. The first third of the text is comprised of this information. The balance presents comparative technical descriptions of the principal safety features of each standard type of design.

This text should be of use to professional engineers interested in safety assessment of operating light water reactors, students interested in the principal safety features of LWRs, and others interested in tracing the design evolution of light water reactors. However, while ambitious in its scope, this text should not be viewed as presenting the levels of reactor safety of the various families of western reactor designs. Reactor safety encompasses a broad range of factors beyond design features that must be collectively considered to assess the level of safety, as described in Chapter 1.

The first, second and fourth authors of this text participated in this work in parallel with performing their thesis research while graduate students in the Department of Nuclear Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The third author, the Korea Electric Power Corporation Professor of Nuclear Engineering at MIT, directed this project.

Second Edition

This edition was prepared to update to the status of January 2000. In particular, since the cutoff for the original text of June 1994, several new standard reactor designs have reached commercial operation. These include the United States/Japan Advanced Boiling Water Reactor, the Korean Standard Nuclear Plant (KSNP), the United Kingdom Sizewell B (a manifestation of the SNUPPS design) and the forthcoming French pressurized water reactor design, N4. These designs and a new chapter devoted to trends in future LWR designs are presented in this new edition.