The Development and Testing of a Container for the Transport of Decommissioning Wastes
The Windscale Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor was shut down in 1981 after 18 years operation at high load factor. The UK has a commitment to dismantle all its nuclear power plants as they cease operation and some of the early stations are approaching that stage. The decision was therefore taken to decommission the WAGR to the ultimate Stage 3 (complete clearance of the site) as a demonstration project and as a development tool for the techniques involved.
One of the key elements in the process is the packaging, transport and disposal of several hundred tonnes of irradiated steel, graphite and concrete. This paper describes the design, development and testing of a suitable container for this purpose.
A reinforced concrete box of some 2.2 metres side weighing up to 50 tonnes has been produced. The strength and radiation shielding properties of concrete have been combined in the structure of the container. The wall thickness of 240 mm in normal concrete is sufficient to shield against most of the radioactive burden. For the more highly irradiated pieces the same design in high density concrete is equally suitable.
The containers have been rigorously tested and developed to meet the IAEA Transport Regulations with a considerable margin in hand. They are suitable for transport by road, rail, and sea, within the public domain.
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