United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Hydrogen Combustion Characteristics Related to Reactor Accidents (NUREG/CR-2475, BNL-NUREG-51492)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: September 1981
Date Published:
July 1983

Prepared by:
A.L. Berlad*, M. Sibulkin**, C.H. Yang*
Brookhaven National Laboratory
Upton, NY 11973

*State University of New York
Stony Brook, New York 11794

**Brown University
Providence, Rhode Island 02912

Prepared for:
Division of Systems Integration
Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

NRC FIN A-3315

Availability Notice


A knowledge of combustion phenomena and their characteristics is necessary in accident analyses related to the release of hydrogen. As a result of the accident at Three Mile Island, and from the results of related studies of hypothetical degraded core accidents, it is recognized that combustion of hydrogen may, under some circumstances, threaten the integrity of a reactor containment building. In general, detailed combustion information is required in order to:

a)   Understand and characterize the combustion phenomena and processes which may occur in a containment building;
b)   Identify the criticality or limiting conditions under which important combustion processes may be extinguished, initiated, or otherwise transformed;
c)   Provide data and information for analytic modeling of safety-related hypothetical accident scenarios;
d)   Allow modelers to predict with confidence, where possible, the consequences of naturally occurring and/or induced combustion processes;
e)   Guide safety-related strategies aimed at mitigation of accident related combustion;
f)   Identify areas where inadequate understanding exists;
g)   Distinguish among the ranges of applicability of selected items and classes of combustion data, experiments, theories, and models.

In pursuit of these objectives, this report attempts to provide a perspective on combustion processes which may not otherwise be derived easily from the enormously diverse combustion literature.

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, December 12, 2013