Fire & Impact Testing on a Nuclear Transportation Package
A global engineering company who design and manufacture packages
to transport radioactive materials.
Most packages that carry radioactive materials have to be
approved by the Radioactive Materials Transport programme within
the Office for Nuclear Regulation. This requires the designer to
demonstrate the package will contain the material in the event of
an accident, which could include fire and impact damage. Our Client
had predicted how the package would perform in an accident, but
they needed to validate their work by carrying out tests.
What We Did
Technical experts from HSL's Fire Safety and Engineering Safety
teams designed a programme of experimental work to meet the
specifications our Client had agreed with the DfT.
Firstly, we delivered a series of tests on a model of one
section of the package. This included drop testing using HSL's
specifically designed 25 metre drop tower, and fire testing within
a gas heated furnace to expose the package to temperatures in
excess of 800 degrees celsius.
This first stage of testing allowed our Client to understand how
the package was likely to behave prior to committing to the
manufacture and testing of a full size prototype. After reviewing
these test results, and concluding a design review assessment, full
size prototypes were manufactured.
In compliance with International Atomic Energy Authority
Regulations we undertook a number of 10 m drop tests on the
prototypes using our purpose-built, 4-metre deep impact block.
These tests represented a worst-case impact scenario for the
container. In each test, the package was in a different drop
orientation. We installed thirty transducers within the package to
measure deceleration at critical locations. The tests were also
recorded on high-speed video by our specialist, in-house
Using HSL's measured data, our Client was able to demonstrate
that the damage from their predictions was a reliable indicator of
what would actually happen to the package in different accident
scenarios. The DfT were satisfied the integrity of the package was
acceptable, and awarded the licence.
The heat transfer data collected during the fire tests was also
applied by our Client to the development and validation of
numerical models to aid the design of future, fire-resistant
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