Emergency Procedures in case of Catastrophe Involving the Raleigh Research Reactor

September 6, 1954
Clifford Beck
NCSC # 84 R


Separate procedures have been written to apply to instances in which it is
necessary to evacuate the Reactor Building due to (a) excessive radiation level
from the reactor or (b) relaease of excessive radioactivity within the Building.
In those cases it was assumed that the hazard would not extend outside the Reactor

It is conceivably possible, however, that gross catastrophes might occur which
would create hazardous circumstances outside the Reactor Building and at other
locations on the campus. It is necessary to plan emergency procedures in advance
to be follow ed if such a catastrophe should occur.

Circumstances envisaged:
Any event which might cause rupture of the fuel cylinder of the Reactor, with
the consequent release of accumulated fission products, and the spread of the
radioactive materials in large amount or hazardous concentration outside the
Reactor Building
, would be termed a catastrophe. Destruction of the Reactor Build-
by earthquake or bombs is the type of even envisaged.

Catastrophe could also occur without destruction of the Reactor Building. For
example, rupture of the reactor vessel, or spillage of its contents could occur
(after significant build up of fission products), and natural convection or forced
ventilation could discharge these from the building so that hazardous amounts would
move toward other areas of the campus. (other regulations specify that any radio-
active materials inadvertantly released shall be retained in the building as much as
possible by turning off exhaust fans, closing doors, etc., In an emergency, however,
these measures might not be adequate, and they might not be followed).

In all the estimates and analyses which have been made, (e.g. for the Reactor
Safeguard Committee
, etc), the possibility of a catastrophe appears to be extremely
remote. Nevertheless, it is an event which could occur. Consideration is given

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herein to the procedures which should be followed if such an unlikely accident
should occur.