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Risk Perspectives on Rail Transport of Spent Nuclear Fuel

[+] Author Affiliations
Christopher S. Bajwa, Earl P. Easton

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Rockville, MD

Paper No. PVP2008-61563, pp. 251-253; 3 pages
  • ASME 2008 Pressure Vessels and Piping Conference
  • Volume 7: Operations, Applications and Components
  • Chicago, Illinois, USA, July 27–31, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: Pressure Vessels and Piping
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4830-2 | eISBN: 0-7918-3828-5
  • Copyright © 2008 by ASME


The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has completed a study of historical rail accidents (from 1975 to 2005) involving hazardous materials and long duration fires in the United States. The study was initiated to determine what types of accidents had actually occurred, and what type of impact those types of accidents could have on the rail transport of spent nuclear fuel. The NRC found that almost 21 billion miles of rail shipments has yielded only a small number of accidents involving hazardous materials, eight of which involved both hazardous materials and long duration fires. The NRC reviewed these eight accidents in detail to determine what types of effects these accidents might have on a spent fuel cask, should one have been involved. The staff determined that the fires witnessed in the accidents studied would not have provided a fully engulfing fire environment as described by the hypothetical accident condition fire in NRC regulations for radioactive material transport found in Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 71, Section 73. This paper will detail the NRC study of these accidents and conclusions regarding effects on transportation casks exposed to the fires that resulted from these accidents.

Copyright © 2008 by ASME



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