Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Experiment With Nuke Containment Vessel Designed To Fail.(Metro & New Mexico)

Byline: John Fleck Journal Staff Writer

* Sandia test will compare computer calculations with real-world, simulated meltdown

Michael Hessheimer plans to spend a couple of days next week breaking something he spent the past three years building.

It's a 70-foot concrete dome looming over the southern reaches of Sandia National Laboratories, part of a nuclear safety experiment being conducted by U.S. and Japanese nuclear safety teams.

The dome is an accurate one-quarter scale model of a nuclear reactor containment vessel, and Hessheimer and his colleagues plan to break it in dramatic fashion by simulating a nuclear meltdown.

There's no nuclear fuel or radiation involved. …

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