“Given the large quantity of irradiated nuclear fuel in the pool, the radioactivity release could be worse than the Chernobyl nuclear reactor catastrophe of 25 years ago.” said Kevin Kamps, a nuclear waste specialist.
How does a nuclear plant meltdown unfold?
Control rods are driven back down into the core upon emergency (if rods don’t make it all the way… trouble)
The coolant (water) could cease if backup systems fail (electricity, pumps, generators, batteries)
Reactor continues to produce heat
Numerous venting valve systems would release pressure above ~1,000 psi into containment vessel
Eventually the uranium fuel encasement metal will melt (2,200 deg F)
Radioactive contamination then released into the reactor vessel
Radiation escapes into an outer, concrete containment building
Radiation escapes into the environment.
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