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Thermal insulating barrier and neutron shield providing integrated protection for a nuclear reactor vessel

United States Patent

*** EXPIRED ***
December 16, 1997
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory - Visit the Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Management Department Website
The reactor vessel of a nuclear reactor installation which is suspended from the cold leg nozzles in a reactor cavity is provided with a lower thermal insulating barrier spaced from the reactor vessel to form a chamber which can be flooded with cooling water through passive valving to directly cool the reactor vessel in the event of a severe accident. The passive valving also includes bistable vents at the upper end of the thermal insulating barrier for releasing steam. A removable, modular neutron shield extending around the upper end of the reactor cavity below the nozzles forms with the upwardly and outwardly tapered transition on the outer surface of the reactor vessel, a labyrinthine channel which reduces neutron streaming while providing a passage for the escape of steam during a severe accident, and for the cooling air which is circulated along the reactor cavity walls outside the thermal insulating barrier during normal operation of the reactor.
Schreiber; Roger B. (Penn Twp., PA), Fero; Arnold H. (New Kensington, PA), Sejvar; James (Murrysville, PA)
Westinghouse Electric Corporation (Pittsburgh, PA)
08/ 502,236
July 13, 1995
GOVERNMENT CONTRACT The Government of the United States of America has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-AC03-90SF18495 awarded by the Department of Energy.