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Transport of radioactive substances

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The conveyance of radioactive substances by public transport requires a permit, in principle. Depending on the type and quantity of the transported radioactive substances, certain packaging regulations must be observed. The so-called type B packaging required particularly for the transport of spent fuel elements must withstand the following tests in compliance with internationally agreed rules:

  • Free fall from 9 m height onto a concrete foundation reinforced with a steel plate,

  • Free fall from 1 m height onto a steel spike with 15 cm diameter and a length of at least 20 cm,

  • Fire test at 800 °C for 30 minutes following the fall tests,

  • Submersion in water for 15 hours at a depth of more than 15 m or for 1 hour at 200 m for packages with very high activities.

In the USA, England and Germany this type of container was subjected to even higher loads in special test series without the containers losing their seal:

  • Collision between the means of fuel element transport and a locomotive (relative speed 130 km/h).

  • Fall from 600 m height on to hard desert ground (results in a maximum impact speed of 400 km/h),

  • Impact of a missile of several tonnes at a speed of 300 m/s = 1080 km/h.

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