Ahh i must of mistaken the two containments, but although however strong it is... Everything has a breaking point at some point, just with the pressure that can build up, tears that big can happen.
I was worried about the same thing earlier. What if all the pressure valves failed closed? Would it go up like a giant pipe bomb with a ball of molten uranium at the center?
So I was thinking about it, picturing the layout of a reactor in my head. Six inch thick steel bell sitting on a 30 foot think concrete and graphite pad.
If pressure increases beyond design limits, you know what will pop first? The latch holding the pressure release valve closed (or some other penetration into the bell). The bell itself is not the weakest link, nor is the pad below it.
The valve will break, a jet of radioactive steam will be released, the uranium pellets will melt and the zirconium alloy cladding will catch fire, and radioactive smoke will escape from the broken valve. The graphite pad will catch the molten core, and some years later it will solidify. The busted valve will be filled with sand to prevent the escape of radioactive smoke, and the area around the containment bell will be flooded with cold water to reduce pressure inside the bell.
Edited by willis888 - 3/15/11 at 9:39am