Description and Testing of an Apparatus for Electrically Initiating Fires Through Simulation of a Faulty Connection (NUREG/CR-4570, SAND86-0299)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: April 1986
Date Published:
June 1986

Prepared by:
Barry L. Spletzer (ORNL), Frank Horine (K-Tech Corp.)
Division 6447, Adverse Environment Safety Division
Sandia National Laboratories
P.O. Box 5800
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87185
Operated by Sandia Corporation
for the U.S. Department of Energy
Under Contract No. DE-AC04-76DP00789

Prepared for:
Division of Engineering Technology
Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

Under Memorandum of Understanding DOE 40-550-75

NRC FIN A-1001

Availability Notice


An apparatus has been developed that allows the simulation of a faulty connection in an electrical circuit by placing a small resistance heater at the screw of a terminal strip. The apparatus and associated control system are described in detail. Details of a typical fire produced with the apparatus are presented, along with results of electrical fire initiation attempts with both IEEE-383 qualified and unqualified nuclear power plant cable.

Repeated use of the apparatus has shown that a self-sustaining fire can be reliably initiated in unqualified cable with power levels to the apparatus not exceeding 200 W. Such fires may be initiated in approximately 10 min. Large-scale fires have been initiated with the apparatus, indicating that propagation to any desired fire size is possible similar efforts with IEEE-383 qualified cable have begun, but the results are not yet conclusive.

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