Fission product iodine release and retention in nuclear reactor accidents— experimental programme at PSI
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Iodine radionuclides constitute one of the most important fission products of uranium and plutonium. If the volatile forms would be released into the environment during a severe accident, a potential health hazard would then ensue. Understanding its behaviour is an important prerequisite for planning appropriate mitigation measures. Improved and extensive knowledge of the main iodine species and their reactions important for the release and retention processes in the reactor containment is thus mandatory. The aim of PSI's radiolytical studies is to improve the current thermodynamic and kinetic databases and the models for iodine used in severe accident computer codes.
Formation of sparingly soluble silver iodide (AgI) in a PWR containment sump can substantially reduce volatile iodine fraction in the containment atmosphere. However, the effectiveness is dependent on its radiation stability. The direct radiolytic decomposition of AgI and the effect of impurities on iodine volatilisation were experimentally determined at PSI using a remote-controlled and automated high activity 188W/Re generator (40 GBq/ml). Low molecular weight organic iodides are difficult to be retained in engineered safety systems. Investigation of radiolytic decomposition of methyl iodide in aqueous solutions, combined with an on-line analysis of iodine species is currently under investigation at PSI.
KeywordsMethyl Iodide Silver Iodide Molecular Iodine Severe Accident Paul Scherrer Institute
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