Criticality Alarm Systems to Support Storage and Disassembly of Spent Propulsion Reactor Cores

In 2019-2020, Sosny R&D Company completed designing two criticality accident alarm systems (CAAS) for Radioactive Waste Management Center "SevRAO" (Gremikha Division, Murmansk region) under the contract signed with Northwest Center SevRao, a branch of FSUE FEO. One CAAS is designed to ensure safe storage of spent propulsion cores, another one - to ensure safe disassembly of the propulsion cores before shipment for further reprocessing.

Either system's principal functions comply with Nuclear Safety Regulations PBYa-06-10–2017:

  • detect a self-sustained chain reaction in the nuclear-hazardous area,
  • generate audible and light evacuation alarms.

The CAAS has an option of continuous absorbed gamma dose rate monitoring in the locations of criticality accident detector units with displaying the readings in the system upper layer during the propulsion reactor core storage.

The distributed structures of both systems comprise a set of devices interconnected with communication lines. The CAAS for core disassembly covers five zones of probable self-sustained chain reaction, and the CAAS for core storage - four zones. The nuclear-hazardous area parameters for each of these zones are justified and verified with numerical analysis.

The registering part of the system is based on an alarm dosimeter DRG-1MK-02. Task-specific racks (CAAS cabinets) represent the upper layer of the system and such service functions as equipment adjustment, performance check, and maintenance.

The preliminary and final design documentation developed by Sosny professionals passed the assessment at the Nuclear Safety Department of the Institute of Physics and Power Engineer (IPPE) and received positive expert reviews. The systems mitigate the risk of personnel exposure in case of a criticality accident and enhance the general radiation safety level at a nuclear facility.

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