May 10, 2022
Conference Paper

Spent Nuclear Fuel Transportation: Rail Conveyance Transmissibility


Equipos Nucleares, S.A. (ENSA) and the US Department of Energy (DOE) are preparing a full scale Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF) transportation test. This transportation testing will include road, rail, coastal, and trans-Atlantic shipments. The test campaign will use a full scale commercial transportation package and cradle. The package will be loaded with two instrumented fuel assemblies to measure strains at cladding locations and accelerations on the fuel assemblies, and thirty “dummy” assemblies. This testing is designed to closely match an actual SNF shipment. Accelerometers will also be used at various locations throughout the full conveyance system (i.e. rail car/truck, cask, transport cradle, and basket) to study the transmission of loads through the system and to provide validation for numerical models. Previous testing and modeling work has shown how the structural transmissibility of the transport system can affect the magnitude of these loads, and the importance of modeling all aspects of the transport system (i.e. rail car/truck, transport cradle, cask, basket, and fuel) (Ref 1, 2). This paper describes preliminary models that were constructed to estimate load transmission during rail transport, from the bottom of the cradle to an individual fuel rod within the package. The modeling studies in this paper evaluate the system response to postulated shock pulses and random vibration loads. These models describe the transmissibility of the conveyance, and demonstrate how loads can be amplified or attenuated as they are transmitted through the structure. This is done by coupling the rail vehicle dynamics code NUCARS, to the general finite element modeling code ANSYS, and the explicit dynamics code LS-DYNA. Models such as the ones presented herein will be used during the test campaign to help analyze and evaluate the test data as it is collected.

Published: May 10, 2022


Jensen P.J., N.A. Klymyshyn, S.B. Ross, and D. Garrido. 2017. Spent Nuclear Fuel Transportation: Rail Conveyance Transmissibility. In Proceedings of the 16th International High-Level Radioactive Waste Management Conference (IHLRWM 2017), April 9-13, 2017, Charlotte, NC, 84-89. La Grange Park, Illinois:American Nuclear Society. PNNL-SA-123180.