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nuclear waste cask destruction test

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Published on Nov 27, 2012

(In) the first test, a truck carrying a 22-ton spent fuel cask impacted a 690-ton concrete block at 60 miles per hour. It was cleaned up and impacted a second time, but at 84 miles per hour. The cask also survived this more violent crash with only minor damage.

In the third test, a diesel locomotive crashed into a truck at 81 miles per hour. The stalled truck carried a 25-ton shipping cask. Cask deformation was minimal and the ability of the cask to contain and shield its radioactive contents was not compromised.

The final impact test had a 74-ton shipping cask, carried by a cask rail car, crash into the concrete block at 81 miles per hour. The same cask and rail car were then positioned over a pool of jet fuel and subjected to an engulfing fire, much more severe than the fire that might occur in a train wreck. After 90 minutes – three times the duration of current qualification test criteria – surface temperatures exceeded 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit. But inside the cask, where the spent fuel rods would be contained, temperatures were below 300 degrees – not enough to melt the spent fuel rods.

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