The behavior of melted lithium-aluminum control rod material from the Savannah River K reactor, when contacted with water, was observed experimentally at a scale corresponding to hypothesized accident conditions. Although pressure pulses of up to 124 kPa were observed, and water and steam were vigorously expelled from the experimental apparatus, no steam explosion occurred. A number of experiments were performed, in which accident phenomena that might initiate a steam explosion were simulated, without effect. Some chemical reaction was observed, indicating that hydrogen was produced. These experiments were used to establish the safety of reactor operation in a recent campaign.
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