The standby liquid control system is used in the event of major contingencies as a last measure to prevent core damage. It is not intended ever to be used, as the RPS and ECCS are designed to respond to all contingencies, even if a quite a few of their components fail, but if a complete ECCS failure occurs, during a limiting fault, it could be the only thing capable of preventing core damage. The SLCS consists of a tank containing borated water as a neutron absorber, protected by explosively-opened valves and redundant battery-operated pumps, allowing the injection of the borated water into the reactor against any pressure within; the borated water can and will shut down a reactor gone out of control. The SLCS also provides an additional layer of defense in depth against a ATWS derangement, but this is an extreme measure that can be avoided by numerous other channels (ARI and use of redundant hydraulics).

Versioning note: The SLCS is a system that is never meant to be activated unless all other measures have failed. In the BWR/1 – BWR/6, its activation could cause sufficient damage to the plant that it could make the older BWRs inoperable without a complete overhaul. With the arrival of the ABWR and (E)SBWR, operators do not have to be as reticent about activating the SLCS, as these reactors have a Reactor Water Cleanup System (RWCS) – once the reactor has stabilized, the borated water within the RPV can be filtered through this system to promptly remove the soluble neutron absorbers that it contains and thus avoid damage to the internals of the plant.

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