United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Bulletin 97-02: Puncture Testing of Shipping Packages Under 10 CFR Part 71

                                                            OMB No. 3150-0012
                                                            NRCB:  97-02

                                 UNITED STATES
                         NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
               OFFICE OF NUCLEAR MATERIAL SAFETY AND SAFEGUARDS
                            WASHINGTON, D.C.  20555

                              September 23, 1997


NRC BULLETIN 97-02:  PUNCTURE TESTING OF SHIPPING PACKAGES UNDER
                     10 CFR PART 71


Addressees 

      For Action -      All holders of Nuclear Regulatory Commission
                        Certificates of Compliance for shipping packages

      For Information - Department of Transportation
                        
                        All "Users and Fabricators" of transportation packages
                        [as defined in 10 CFR 171.16(10)(B)]                  
                              

Purpose

NRC is issuing this bulletin to:  (1) notify addressees of issues related to
the performance of the puncture test as specified in 10 CFR 71.73(c)(3);
(2) request that all action addressees implement the actions described herein;
and (3) require that all action addressees provide NRC with a written response
to this bulletin.

Background

On June 27, 1997, NRC Information Notice 97-47 was issued as notification
regarding the performance of the puncture test specified in 10 CFR Part 71 for
radioactive material shipping packages.

Description of Circumstances

Recently, NRC became aware that two holders of NRC Certificates of Compliance
for packages under Part 71 had performed the puncture test using a bar that
was not mounted as specified in 10 CFR 71.73(c)(3).  The incorrect performance
of these tests and questions concerning the application of Quality Assurance
(QA) programs to package testing activities resulted in issuance of NRC
Confirmatory Action Letters to the two certificate holders, which documented
their suspension of fabrication of further packagings until retesting was
performed to verify compliance with the requirements of Part 71.


9709180179.                                                            NRCB 97-02
                                                            September 23, 1997
                                                            Page 2 of 4


Discussion

The hypothetical accident conditions in 10 CFR 71.73 specify tests that are to
be conducted for Type B and fissile material shipping packages.  The tests are
to be applied sequentially, in the order indicated, so that damage from the
test sequence is cumulative.  A separate water immersion test is also to be
performed for all packages, using an undamaged specimen, as provided in 10 CFR
71.73(c)(6).

Under 10 CFR 71.73 (c)(3), the puncture test consists of a free drop of the
specimen through a distance of 1 meter (40 inches) in a position for which
maximum damage is expected, onto the upper end of a solid, vertical,
cylindrical, mild steel bar mounted on an essentially unyielding horizontal
surface.  The bar must be 15 cm (6 in.) in diameter, with the top horizontal
and its edge rounded to a radius of not more than 6 mm (0.25 in.), and of a
length as to cause maximum damage to the package, but not less than 20 cm (8
in.) long.  The long axis of the bar must be vertical.  

The bar must be fastened or attached such that it will not move during the
test to ensure  that maximum damage to the packaging would be expected to
occur, as provided in 10 CFR 71.73(c)(3).  Failure to fasten or attach the bar
during testing may not result in maximum cumulative damage to the package as a
result of the hypothetical accident condition test sequence. 

Requested Actions

(1)   All holders of NRC Certificates of Compliance for packages are requested
      to review their puncture test assessment for each of their certified
      package designs.  The method used to assess the effects of the puncture
      test (e.g., physical testing of a full-size specimen, physical testing
      of a scale-model specimen, engineering analyses, or comparison to a
      similar package design) should be determined.  For package designs whose
      puncture test assessment was based on physical tests, including
      comparison to a similar design that was physically tested, the
      certificate holder should determine whether the puncture test was
      performed in accordance with 10 CFR 71.73(c)(3). 

(2)   For any package design whose puncture test assessment was based upon
      physical tests that were not in accordance with 10 CFR 71.73(c)(3), the
      certificate holder is requested to identify any special precautions or
      operational controls that are needed to assure safe use of the package,
      pending retesting and reassessment of the package design.  In addition,
      the Certificate holder for any such package design should prepare a
      justification showing why there are no health and safety concerns that
      would require immediate removal of packages of that design from service. 
      

(3)   Further, for any package design whose puncture test assessment was based
      on physical tests that were not in accordance with 10 CFR 71.73(c)(3),
      the certificate holder is requested to prepare a plan and schedule for
      demonstrating the adequacy of the design for the hypothetical accident
      conditions specified in 10 CFR 71.73.  Certificate holders are requested
      to justify the timeliness of their schedule.  
.                                                            NRCB 97-02
                                                            September 23, 1997
                                                            Page 3 of 4


The demonstration of compliance may be made by subjecting a specimen or scale
model of the package to the hypothetical accident test sequence, by
calculation and reference to other suitable documented tests, by a combination
of testing and calculation, or by another method of demonstration acceptable
to the Commission.  The plan for demonstrating the adequacy of the packages
should incorporate the applicable QA requirements specified in Subpart H of
Part 71.  

Required Responses

Pursuant to 10 CFR 2.204 and 10 CFR 71.39, in order to determine whether any
license or certificate should be modified, suspended, revoked, or other action
taken, each action addressee is required to submit, within 30 days of the date
of this bulletin, a response indicating whether the addressee will implement
the requested actions above within the time frames specified below.  

If an addressee intends to implement the requested actions:

      (i)   Within 45 days from the date of this bulletin, provide a report
            confirming completion of the actions requested in Items 1 and 2,
            above, including a description of the evaluations performed, any
            special precautions or operational controls that are needed, and
            any health and safety justification prepared in response to the
            requested actions.

      (ii)  Within 90 days from the date of this bulletin, provide a report
            confirming completion of the actions requested in Item 3, above,
            including the plan and schedule for demonstrating the adequacy of
            the design and justification of the timeliness of the schedule.

If an addressee chooses not to take the requested actions, within 30 days of
the date of this bulletin, provide; a description of any proposed alternative
course of action; the schedule for completing the alternative course of
action, if applicable; and the safety basis for determining the acceptability
of the planned alternative course of action.

Within 30 days of completion of the actions requested above, provide a report
confirming completion of all of the actions requested in this bulletin (the
report confirming completion may be included with the information requested in
item (ii), above).

Address the required written responses to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory
Commission, ATTN:  Document Control Desk, Washington, D.C. 20555, under oath
or affirmation, under the provisions of Section 182a, Atomic Energy Act of
1954, as amended.  In addition, submit a copy to the Director of the Spent
Fuel Project Office.
.                                                            NRCB 97-02
                                                            September 23, 1997
                                                            Page 4 of 4

                        
Paperwork Reduction Act Statement

The information collections contained in this request are covered by the
Office of Management and Budget clearance number 3150-0012, which expires June
30, 2000.  The public reporting burden for this collection of information is
estimated to average 15 hours per Certificate of Compliance, including the
time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering
and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection
of information.  Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other
aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing
this burden, to the Information and Records Management Branch, U.S. Nuclear
Regulatory Commission, Washington, D.C. 20555, and to the Desk Officer, Office
of Information and Regulatory Affairs, NEOB-10202, (3150-0012), Office of
Management and Budget, Washington, D.C. 20503.

Information Addressees

NRC is issuing this bulletin to information addressees to alert them to issues
related to the performance of the puncture test as specified in 10 CFR
71.73(c)(3).  It is expected that recipients will review the information for
applicability and consider actions, as appropriate, to avoid similar problems. 
However, the requested actions and required responses applicable to the action
addressees are not applicable to information addressees; therefore, no
specific action or written response is required from them.

If you have any questions about this matter, please contact one of the
technical contacts listed below.

            
                                    signed by
                                    
                              Charles J. Haughney, Acting Director
                              Spent Fuel Project Office
                              Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards

Technical contacts:  David Tiktinsky, NMSS     Ross Chappell, NMSS
                     301-415-8523              301-415-8510
                     E-mail:  dht@nrc.gov      E-mail:  crc1@nrc.gov

Attachments:
1.  List of Recently Issued NMSS Bulletins
2.  List of Recently Issued NRC Bulletins


 

 

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, July 23, 2013