Abstract Safety investigations for LMFBRs have to consider local failure situations in one fuel element which may escalate to a hypothetical CDA. Such initiating events could produce high pressure pulses in a single subassembly which may expand and rupture the wrapper as well as load adjacent elements impulsively. The associated nonlinear dynamic core deformation problem is treated in this paper. In particular the multirow structural dynamics code CØRE-1 and underlying mechanical models are described. Each subassembly is simulated by an equivalent system of point masses and nonlinear coupling springs. The motion of the coolant layer between the elements is treated by an incompressible, non-stationary frictional flow model. In order to obtain realistic code input four types of static single subassembly deformation experiments are described which provided strongly nonlinear load deformation characteristics. Furthermore the transient pressure distribution within the core is obtained from a full scale explosion test. Finally code application is demonstrated and results are given of a transient analysis of the SNR 300 core.