Inside a Containment

The containment for Pressurized Water Reactor facilities is a large metal structure, usually with a hemispherical dome. The design pressure of the containment is usually about 50 pounds per square inch (psi), although realistically pressures of over 100 psi could be sustained. The containment usually has a number of concrete walled shielded compartments that contain vessels with radioactive fluids as the steam generators and pressurizer. This concrete shielding allows personnel to enter the containment for inspections while the reactor is operating.

The reactor is usually located lower in the containment. At this facility the reactor is located in the pit located in the foreground. Several other pictures in the series show what the reactor really looks like when the unit is operating.

At the facility shown in this photo, the large shiny metal cask shown in the background is a spent fuel shipping cask that is being readied for shipping spent fuel to an offsite reprocessing facility.

Copyright 1996-2004.  Joseph Gonyeau, P.E.. The Virtual Nuclear Tourist. All rights reserved. Revised: March 15, 2001