Investigation of core degradation (COBE)

Iain Shepherd, Tim Haste, Naouma Kourti, Francesco Oriolo, Mario Leonardi, Jürgen Knorr, Sabine Kretschmer, Michael Umbreit, Bernard Adroguer, Peter Hofmann, Alexei Miassoedov, Volker Noack, Martin Steinbrück, Christoph Homann, Helmut Plitz, Mikhail Veshchunov, Marc Jaeger, Marc Medale, Brian Turland, Richard HilesGiacomino Bandini, Stefano Ederli, Thomas Linnemann, Marco Koch, Hermann Unger, Klaus Müller, José Fernández Benítez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


The COBE project started in February 1996 and finished at the end of January 1999. The main objective was to improve understanding of core degradation behaviour during severe accidents through the development of computer codes, the carrying out of experiments and the assessment of the computer codes' ability to reproduce experimental behaviour. A major effort was devoted to quenching behaviour and a substantial achievement of the project was the design and commissioning of a new facility for the simulation of quenching of intact fuel rods. Two tests, carefully scaled to represent realistic reactor conditions, were carried out in this facility and the hydrogen generated during the quenching process was measured using two independent measuring systems. The codes were able to reproduce the results in the first test, where little hydrogen was generated but not the second test, where the extra steam produced during quenching caused an invigorated Zircaloy oxidation and a substantial hydrogen generation. A number of smaller parametric experiments allowed detailed models to be developed for the absorption of hydrogen and the cracking of cladding during quenching. COBE also investigated other areas concerned with late-phase phenomena. There was no experimental activity - the work included code development and the analysis of experimental data available to the project partners - either from open literature or from other projects such as Phebus-FP. Substantial improvement was made in the codes' ability to simulate heat transfer in debris beds and molten pools and increased understanding was reached of control rod material interactions, the swelling of irradiated fuel and the movement of molten material to the lower head. © 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107 - 116
Number of pages10
JournalNuclear Engineering and Design
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2001
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Mechanical Engineering

Cite this

Shepherd, I., Haste, T., Kourti, N., Oriolo, F., Leonardi, M., Knorr, J., ... Benítez, J. F. (2001). Investigation of core degradation (COBE). Nuclear Engineering and Design, 209(1-3), 107 - 116.