Friday, April 1, 2011

U.S. Dropped Nuclear Rule Meant to Avert Hydrogen Explosions - NYTimes.com

U.S. Dropped Nuclear Rule Meant to Avert Hydrogen Explosions - NYTimes.com: "The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has allowed reactors to phase out some equipment that eliminates explosive hydrogen, the gas that blew up the outer containments of three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi in Japan. The commission says it judged that at the American plants, the containments were strong enough that the equipment was not needed or other methods would do.

After the Three Mile Island accident in 1979, many reactors were required to install “hydrogen recombiners,” which attach potentially explosive hydrogen atoms to oxygen to make water instead. At Three Mile Island, engineers learned that hot fuel could interact with steam to give off hydrogen"