Javascript is required for Our World of Energy!

We use Javascript to add unique and interesting functionality to the site including menu navigation and saving your favorite pages!

Please turn Javascript on in order to continue.
Loading, please wait...
This is a test message!

This is a test message!
OWOE - Nuclear Power - What is a nuclear containment structure?
  Figure 1 - Schematic of Containment Structure (NRC)
Figure 1 - Schematic of Containment Structure (NRC)
What is a nuclear containment structure?
Topic updated: 2015-09-01

The nuclear reaction that produces power takes place in what is called the "core" of the nuclear plant. To prevent release of the radiation into the environment, the core is housed in a steel reactor vessel that absorbs the nuclear particles that are emitted. The containment structure is a massive reinforced concrete structure, typically lined internally with steel, that surrounds the reactor vessel and all piping and equipment that handles radioactive material and provides another radiation barrier. This containment structure protects the environment from any internal accident that might occur with the equipment and also protects the equipment from any external accident that might trigger a release, such as an earthquake, tsunami, or airplane impact.

As an example of a containment structure functioning as designed, the Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station in Florida was hit directly by Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Turkey Point has two fossil fuel units and two nuclear units. Over $90 million of damage was done, largely to a water tank and to a smokestack of one of the fossil-fueled units on-site, but the containment buildings were undamaged.

Back To
Nuclear Power
More Topics