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[This chapter presents the physics necessary to understand a severe accident. First, the kinetic behavior of neutrons in a reactor is recalled, then the degradation of the reactor core is considered, either in the context of uncontrolled overpowering, or in the context of heat up due to lack of...
[This chapter covers reactor accidents from the beginning of nuclear power until the 1980s. The accidents at Windscale (Great Britain), Vandellos (Spain), Vinča (Yugoslavia), SL-1 (USA), Santa Susana (USA), K-19 (USSR), Lagoona Beach (USA), Chapelcross (England), Grenoble (France), Lucens...
[The core meltdown accident at Three Mile Island in 1979 in the United States was a major challenge to nuclear safety in the scientific community. An accident considered impossible by the specialists had nevertheless occurred, raising fundamental questions such as the understanding of the...
[The 1986 Chernobyl accident in Ukraine spread a very large quantity of radioactivity over the European continent. Reactor 4 literally exploded, and firefighters had great difficulty in stopping the fire. Many people died in the ranks of the personnel who intervened to limit the consequences of...
[The Fukushima accident in 2011 in Japan is the latest large-scale accident to date. A major tsunami led to the drowning of the plant and the destruction of four reactors by a succession of adverse circumstances, a historically unprecedented situation. This accident confirmed that even the most...
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