Calder Hall: the story of Britain’s first atomic power by Kenneth Jay


By Kenneth Jay

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Consider the requirements. In order to transmit the heat generated in the uranium through the metal can to the cooling gas, the can must make good thermal contact with the uranium on the inside and transfer heat efficiently to the gas on the outside. At the same time it must not be corroded either by the gas or by the uranium and, as with everything inside a reactor core, it must absorb neutrons to the least possible extent. org/access_use#pd-google the uranium inside would cause cracks and the can would cease to be effective in doing its job.

At the four corners of the foundation supporting the octagon are four concrete plinths upon which four heat exchangers are placed. The octagon and its reactor are covered by a steel-framed build ing and similar buildings connected to it contain the control room, fuel store, discharge machinery, and various ancillary plant. The general scheme of construction was to build a founda tion raft and upon it the octagonal shield. Simultaneously the pressure vessel would be fabricated in sections and the sections lifted by crane into the completed shield, where they would be welded together.

This experiment has been described in some detail because it illustrates the kind of research upon which major engineer ing decisions are based and the complications that may accompany an apparently straightforward measurement. The , experiments showed that, although pile irradiation increased the rate of the reaction between carbon dioxide and graphite proportionally to the intensity of the radiation, the increased rate would not exceed the permissible limit. Accordingly, it THE DESIGN IS CHOSEN: "PIPPA" 21 was decided to go ahead with the design on the assumption that carbon dioxide would be used.

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