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Title: Rail Shock and Vibration Pre-Test Modeling of a Used Nuclear Fuel Assembly

The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy (DOE-NE), Office of Fuel Cycle Technology, has established the Used Fuel Disposition Campaign (UFDC) to conduct the research and development activities related to storage, transportation, and disposal of used nuclear fuel (UNF) and high-level radioactive waste (HLW). The mission of the UFDC is to identify alternatives and conduct scientific research and technology development to enable storage, transportation and disposal of used nuclear fuel and HLW generated by existing and future nuclear fuel cycles. The Storage and Transportation staff within the UFDC is responsible for addressing issues regarding the long-term or extended storage (ES) of UNF and its subsequent transportation. Available information is not sufficient to determine the ability of ES UNF, including high-burnup fuel, to withstand shock and vibration forces that could occur when the UNF is shipped by rail from nuclear power plant sites to a storage or disposal facility. There are three major gaps in the available information – 1) the forces that UNF assemblies would be subjected to when transported by rail, 2) the mechanical characteristics of fuel rod cladding, which is an essential structure for controlling the geometry of the UNF, a safety related feature, and 3)more » modeling methodologies to evaluate multiple possible degradation or damage mechanisms over the UNF lifetime. In order to address the first gap, options for tests to determine the physical response of surrogate UNF assemblies subjected to shock and vibration forces that are expected to be experienced during normal conditions of transportation (NCT) by rail must be identified and evaluated. The objective of the rail shock and vibration tests is to obtain data that will help researchers understand the mechanical loads that ES UNF assemblies would be subjected to under normal conditions of transportation and to fortify the computer modeling that will be necessary to evaluate the impact those loads may have on the integrity of the UNF assembly. The shock and vibration testing along with computer modeling is a vital part of research to achieve closure of a gap in information related to the ability of ES UNF to maintain its safety function when subjected to NCT. In support of this effort, preliminary structural dynamics modeling is presented herein. The modeling investigates the rigidity of a hypothetical cask and cradle structure by comparing it to a monolithic concrete mass. The concrete mass represents a practical option for achieving the necessary cask and cradle mass on a flatbed railcar, but this comparative modeling study investigates whether or not the dynamic loads transmitted through a monolithic concrete configuration are adequately representative of a realistic cask and cradle system. This modeling highlights the need for rail testing by reporting the phenomenon of structural transmissibility. As shown herein, this structural transmissibility can cause an amplification of shock and vibration loads through the structure, which could potentially lead to accelerated mechanical degradation of UNF under NCT.« less
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Resource Relation:
Conference: International High-Level Radioactive Waste Management Conference: Real World Solutions for Integrated Management of Used Fuel and HLW, April 12-16, 2015, Charleston, South Carolina
American Nuclear Society, La Grange Park, IL, United States(US).
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States