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Current Knowledge and Research Opportunities in Nuclear Fire Safety: A Technical Overview on Aircraft Impact upon Nuclear Containment


  • Physics Department Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 Skudai, Johor, Malaysia
  • Energy Engineering Department Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 Skudai, Johor, Malaysia
  • Department of Physics, Federal University, Lafia, Nigeria


Objective: This paper scrutinizes the available literature and presents a comprehensive overview of nuclear fire safety, acknowledging some areas for future research. Methods/Statistical Analysis: Relevant literatures on the aircraft impact upon nuclear reactor containment were reviewed. Scope, findings and limitations of major researches in this field were presented and possible areas of future research were highlighted. A statistical analysis on the number of scientific publications on nuclear fire safety per five years which present the progress in the subject matter was reported. The analysis considered 1968 and 2015 as the base and end years respectively. Findings: In general, some of the identified challenging issues and limitations of nuclear fire studies are: (i) there are limited experimental data on real nuclear fire (ii) studies which considered the impact of external events like aircraft crash on containment gave little or no considerations to tendon gallery, openings and penetrations as in most cases, crash were hypothetically assumed to occur at the midpoint of the cylindrical portion of the containment and near the junction of dome without making recourse to the other portions of the containment e.g. roofing and reactor base (iii) Most reactor fire analysis do not consider material properties at elevated temperatures (iv) in the hazard analysis concerning aircraft impact, assessment of hazards from fireball and pool fire are yet to be fully considered (v) there are very limited data concerning structural failure modes caused by nearfield explosive loading. Application/Improvement: The findings of this article could be used to improve the existing methodologies of nuclear fire safety assessment in order to address some of the identified challenging issues.


Fire Hazards, Nuclear Reactor, Nuclear Power Plant, Nuclear Accident, Nuclear Safety.

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