Sandia’s injectable materials could stop contamination from spreading
By Kristen Meub
Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories are developing a promising new way to prevent the spread of radioactive contamination and contain the hot molten mass that develops within a nuclear reactor during a catastrophic accident.
During a three-year Laboratory Directed Research and Development project, a team of scientists discovered and patented a process for injecting sand-like minerals into the core of a nuclear reactor during an accident to contain and slow down the progression of a meltdown.
Sandia developed computer models and software (known as MELCOR) that show how corium, a highly radioactive lava-like mixture of nuclear fuel, fission products, control rods, structural materials and other components, melts through a nuclear reactor and spreads during a meltdown.