Core catcher

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

A core catcher is a device provided to catch the molten core material (Corium) of a nuclear reactor in case of a nuclear meltdown and prevent it from escaping the containment building.

A core catcher is made from a special concrete ceramic to prevent material from trickling through; it is also a cooling mechanism to cool down the core material.[1][2] The core catcher of the European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) has 170 m² expansion area and a mass of 500 t.[3]

Examples of reactor types with core catchers, besides the EPR, are:

The AES-91, a project of Atomstroyexport based on the VVER-1000 design, will be the first type of nuclear plant that has a core catcher as standard equipment.[6] Thus, in early 2011, the two reactors of the Chinese Tianwan Nuclear Power Plant are the only working nuclear reactors with core catchers.

The Russian physicist who helped design the Russian core-catcher model during the Chernobyl crisis, Leonid Bolshov, has stressed that the experience of Chernobyl has encouraged Russia to create reactors with core-catcher safety devices in new nuclear plants.[7]


  1. ^ Siempelkamp: Core Catcher - Cooling Structures
  2. ^ IAEA-Dokument: Status of Fast Breeder Reactor Development in Germany
  3. ^ [1] (Brochure in German, describing the concept of the core catcher for the EPR in Finland)
  4. ^ a b Areva Brochure: EPR - reference number:G-61-V1-07-GER
  5. ^ AtomStroyExport News
  6. ^ WNA - Nuclear Power in Russia
  7. ^ [2] (Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting and Scientific American)

External links[edit]