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Safety and Security of Commercial Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage: Public Report
FIGURE 3.1 Schematic section through a G.E.Mark I BWR reactor plant. The spent fuel pool is located in the reactor building well above ground level. This diagram is for a BWR with a reinforced concrete superstructure (roof). Most designs have thin steel superstructures, SOURCE: Lamarsh (1975, Figure 11.3).
strikes of tomado missiles. The superstructures and pools were not, however, specifically designed to resist terrorist attacks.
The typical spent fuel pool is about 40 feet (12 meters) deep and can be 40 or more feet (12 meters) in each horizontal dimension. The pool walls are constructed of reinforced concrete typically having a thickness between 4 and 8 feet (1.2 to 2.4 meters). The pools contain a ¼– to ½–inch-thick (6 to 13 mrn) stainless steel liner, which is attached to the walls with studs embedded in the concrete. The pools also contain vertical storage racks for holding spent and fresh fuel assemblies, and some pools have a gated compartment to hold a spent fuel storage cask while it is being loaded and sealed (see Chapter 4).
The storage racks are about 13 feet (4 meters) in height and are installed near the bottom of the spent fuel pool. The racks have feet to provide space between their bottoms and the pool floor. There is also space between the sides of the rack and the steel pool liners for circulation of water (FIGURE 3.3), There are about 26 feet (8 meters) of water above the top of the spent fuel racks. This provides substantial radiation shielding even when an assembly is being moved above the rack. Transfers of spent fuel from the reactor core to the spent fuel pool or from the pool to storage casks are carried out underwater to provide shielding and cooling.
The general elevation of the spent fuel pool matches that of the vessel containing the reactor core. Pressurized water reactor designs use comparatively shorter reactor