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This from Stop the Radiation! (also don't know how trustworthy)
To contain, indefinitely, a complete core meltdown. For that purpose, a large and thick concrete basin is cast under the pressure vessel (the second containment), which is filled with graphite, all inside the third containment. This is the so-called "core catcher". If the core melts and the pressure vessel bursts (and eventually melts), it will catch the molten fuel and everything else. It is built in such a way that the nuclear fuel will be spread out, so it can cool down.

That would be news to me -- and this graphite wouldn't be exposed to air, like the moderator in Chernobyl #4 was. The Fuel Pool (which is the core catcher on these BWR) is stated to be reinforced concrete with a cooling system, not graphite. I'm looking for the full design documents on a GE BWR-3 with a Mark I containment.

This is a good drawing (with a couple of annotations) on the basic layout. Note the torus below. This is where vented steam goes to condense, and if there was a full core meltdown, this is where it would flow.

Remember -- there are a lot of reactor designs out there. The most common BWRs are GE BWR 1 through 6, and the ABWR. In design is the ESBWR. This is a BWR-3 with a Mark 1 containment, if it's not talking about an BWR-3 with an Mark 1 containment, it's not actually telling you anything about Fukushima 1 Reactor 1.

(my emphasis)

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 14th, 2011 at 03:50:27 AM EST
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