The Role of Winfrith in Radioactive Materials Transport Technology
Although transport of radioactive materials (RAM) has proved to be a safe operation, with negligible hazard to the public and the environment, there is a need to develop more efficient operations and new aspects of the business. Within the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) there is considerable expertise on RAM transport and related topics and the main UKAEA centre for work in this area is at Winfrith where a large research and development programme over a range of subjects is under way. The programme, carried out for the Department of Energy, is of a generic nature but is usefully augmented in the practical field by specific experiments for commercial customers and by the need to operate radioactive facilities such as the 100 MW(e) Steam Generating Heavy water Reactor. To focus the commercial work both at Winfrith and more broadly within the UKAEA, a Transport Technology Business Centre has recently been established.
The paper gives an overview of the facilities and experience available at Winfrith to study shielding, criticality safety, thermal performance under normal and fire accident conditions, flask decontamination and impact behaviour. Companion papers at this Conference discuss some aspects of the work, e.g. the calculational methods to be applied to the design of shielding, the validation of finite element computer codes to assess impacts, and studies of the sub-criticality of storage and transport arrangements for irradiated fuel.
One of the important recent changes in emphasis has been the increased attention to radioactive waste handling and transport.
In common with other nuclear sites, Winfrith is having to provide new facilities for the storage of intermediate level waste (ILW) pending the availabilty, post-2000, of a NIREX disposal site. Their preferred type of ILW package is an unshielded 500 litre drum which, during transport, will require the shielding and impact protection of an overpack. A programme to examine the performance of the Winfrith drum design under potential handling accident conditions is described. Winfrith has also carried out a range of other waste container impact tests including dropping of 40 Te simulated WAGR decommissioning waste packages.
KeywordsFuel Assembly Radioactive Material Pool Fire Dangerous Good Irradiate Fuel
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