Fuel fail and emission from research reactor

Print View Posted on: 02 March 2017

Event Date: 24 October 2016 Event Type: Research Reactor
Event Location: Norway, Institute for Energy Technology, Halden INES Rating: 1 (Final)

Fuel rods were unloaded October 17 2016, and placed in an open container in the handling compartment. The reactor was then in shutdown. On October 20th increased levels of noble gasses were detected in the filters from the handling compartment. The fuel in the handling compartment was inspected and several faults on fuel rods were detected.
These were moved to a storage container on October 24, however the container was discovered to not be leak tight. The levels of I-131 and I-132 in the Reactor hall were still increasing.

The personell reacted to the alarm that warned about this on October 24th and evacuated (as per routine) - thus no overexposure of workers was experienced.

The ventilation was turned off on October 25th when Levels in the reactor hall continued to increase due to the leakage from the container.

The Levels were still high until October 31st when IFE mounted ekstra sealing to the container.

In the aftermath IFE has been working to identify the cause and extent of the leak from the fuel fail. Approximate numbers are that Iodine emissions to air constitute 5% of the yearly amount given by the licence, the Iodine emissions to water constitutes 23% of the annual limit

The total release to the air is approx. 16,9 MBq I-131, and 8,4 MBq I-132.

INES Rating: 1 - Anomaly (Final) as per 30 January 2017
Release beyond authorized limits? No
Overexposure of a member of the public? No
Overexposure of a worker? No

Contamination spread within the facility? Yes
Damage to radiological barriers (incl. fuel damage) within the facility? Yes

Degradation of Defence In-Depth Yes

Person injured physically or casualty? No
Is there a continuing problem? No

Monica Dobbertin
Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority

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