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I fear that flooding the dry well with water might not solve the problem. It will certainly produce copious amounts of steam, but if the corium retains critical mass it can either re-melt or simply not be melted in the first place.

 A week ago, when I first heard the term "core catcher" I thought of a surface divided into diverging channels so that, should corium fall on it, the coruim would be divided by gravity into smaller and smaller portions down to a level at which re-criticality would be impossible. Perhaps I should say that I dreamed this was the case. Doing this would have involved only design time and the construction of a form to shape the surface of the dry well. But it turned out that the term "core catcher" was post hoc from attempts to stabilize Chernobyl.

Tom Burnett responding in comments noted that corium could not be diluted, but could be broken into smaller packets. I would note that this would only be a stable solution were it to be performed on a stable surface that had adequate heat capacity or heat removal capacity. If the corium melts through the (apparently flat) floor of the drywell and onto grade the next development would depend on the moisture content of the grade into which it melts and on whether geologic conditions happen to further disperse the corium or to re-concentrate it.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Mar 31st, 2011 at 08:17:14 AM EST
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