Nuclear Power Plants Must Be Able To Withstand Fires Caused By Aircraft Impacts

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In his dissertation, Topi Sikanen, a Master of Science (Technology) and Research Scientist at VTT, examined the transport, evaporation and combustion of liquids in large-scale fire incidents. He developed practical models which will help to predict the consequences for nuclear power plants of fires caused by aircraft impacts.

Analyses of airliner impacts became mandatory after terrorists deliberately crashed two aircraft into the World Trade Center twin towers in New York in 2001.

Nuclear power plants must continuously improve their safety standards. A modern nuclear power plant, for example, must withstand fires caused by aircraft crashing into it. In his dissertation, Topi Sikanen developed methods of modelling unusual and major accidents. The practical outcome of the dissertation was a number of tested, applicable models which help to predict the consequences of fires at nuclear power plants.

Sikanen applied the computational tools of fluid dynamics to the fire safety analyses he presented in his three-part dissertation. The first part of the dissertation concerns the conveyance of liquid discharged from fuel tanks in connection with aircraft impacts. In the second part, Sikanen modelled liquid pool fires, the evaporation of liquid, and the heat transfer.

In the last part, Sikanen applied the methods that he had developed to the analysis of the impact of aircraft crashing into a nuclear power plant.

The results of the safety and fire safety analyses presented in this dissertation, which falls under construction technology, can be used by the designers and implementers of nuclear power plants and other large buildings.

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