skip to main content

Title: Special Form Testing of Sealed Source Encapsulation for High-Alpha-Activity Actinide Materials

In the United States all transportation of radioactive material is regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Beginning in 2008 a new type of sealed-source encapsulation package was developed and tested by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). These packages contain high-alpha-activity actinides and are regulated and transported in accordance with the requirements for DOT Class 7 hazardous material. The DOT provides specific regulations pertaining to special form encapsulation designs. The special form designation indicates that the encapsulated radioactive contents have a very low probability of dispersion even when subjected to significant structural events. The special form designs have been shown to simplify the delivery, transport, acceptance, and receipt processes. It is intended for these sealed-source encapsulations to be shipped to various facilities making it very advantageous for them to be certified as special form. To this end, DOT Certificates of Competent Authority (CoCAs) have been sought for the design suitable for containing high-alpha-activity actinide materials. This design consists of the high-alpha-activity material encapsulated within a triangular zirconia canister, referred to as a ZipCan, tile that is then enclosed by a spherical shell. The spherical shell design, with ZipCan tile inside, was tested for compliance with the special form regulationsmore » found in 49 CFR 173.469. The spherical enclosure was subjected to 9-m impact, 1 m percussion, and 10-minute thermal tests at the Packaging Evaluation Facility located at the National Transportation Research Center in Knoxville, TN USA and operated by ORNL. Before and after each test, the test units were subjected to a helium leak check and a bubble test. The ZipCan tiles and core were also subjected to the tests required for ISO 2919:2012(E), including a Class IV impact test and heat test and subsequently subjected to helium leakage rate tests [49 CFR 173.469(a)(4)(i)]. The impact-tile test unit contained a nonradioactive surrogate; however, the thermal test unit contained a radioactive source. This paper describes the regulatory special form tests and presents detailed impact and leak test results that demonstrate that the sealed source encapsulation designs satisfy the regulatory tests.« less
  1. ORNL
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Resource Relation:
Conference: PATRAM 2016, Kobe, Japan, 20160918, 20160923
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). National Transportation Research Center (NTRC)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States