J.H. Moo, S.S. Chirayath, and S.G. Cho, “Physical Protection System Vulnerability Assessment of a Small Nuclear Research Reactor due to TNT-Shaped Charge Impact on its Reinforced Concrete Wall”, Nuclear Engineering and Technology, 54,6 (2022).
A nuclear energy facility is one of the most critical facilities to be safely protected during and after operation because the physical destruction of its barriers by an external attack could release radioactivity into the environment and can cause harmful effects. The barrier walls of nuclear energy facilities should be sufficiently robust to protect essential facilities from external attack or sabotage. Physical protection system (PPS) vulnerability assessment of a typical small nuclear research reactor was carried out by simulating an external attack with a tri-nitro toluene (TNT) shaped charge and results are presented. The reinforced concrete (RC) barrier wall of the research reactor located at a distance of 50 m from a TNT-shaped charge was the target of external attack. For the purpose of the impact assessment of the RC barrier wall, a finite element method (FEM) is utilized to simulate the destruction condition. The study results showed that a hole-size of diameter 342 mm at the front side and 364 mm at the back side was created on the RC barrier wall as a result of a 143.35 kg TNT-shaped charge. This aperture would be large enough to let at least one person can pass through at a time. For the purpose of the PPS vulnerability assessment, an Estimate of Adversary Sequence Interruption (EASI) model was used, which enabled the determination of most vulnerable path to the target with a probability of interruption equal to 0.43. The study showed that the RC barrier wall is vulnerable to a TNT-shaped charge impact, which could in turn reduce the effectiveness of the PPS.