Reexamination of Spent Fuel Shipment Risk Estimates – Main Report (NUREG/CR-6672)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: February 2000
Date Published: March 2000

Prepared by:
J.L. Sprung, D.J. Ammerman, N.L. Breivik, R.J. Dukart, F.L. Kanipe,
J.A. Koski, G.S. Mills, K.S. Neuhauser, H.D. Radloff, R.F. Weiner, H.R. Yoshimura

Sandia National Laboratories
Albuquerque, NM 87185-0744

Prepared for:
Spent Fuel Project Office
Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

NRC Job Code J5160

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The risks associated with the transport of spent nuclear fuel by truck and rail are reexamined and compared to results published in NUREG-0170 and the Modal Study. The reexamination considers transport by truck and rail in four generic Type B spent fuel casks. Cask and spent fuel response to collision impacts and fires are evaluated by performing three-dimensional finite element and one-dimensional heat transport calculations. Accident release fractions are developed by critical review of literature data. Accident severity fractions are developed from Modal Study truck and rail accident event trees, modified to reflect the frequency of occurrence of hard and soft rock wayside route surfaces as determined by analysis of geographic data. Incident-free population doses and the population dose risks associated with the accidents that might occur during transport are calculated using the RADTRAN 5 transportation risk code. The calculated incident-free doses are compared to those published in NUREG-0 170. The calculated accident dose risks are compared to dose risks calculated using NUREG-0170 and Modal Study accident source terms. The comparisons demonstrate that both of these studies made a number of very conservative assumptions about spent fuel and cask response to accident conditions, which caused their estimates of accident source terms, accident frequencies, and accident consequences to also be very conservative. The results of this study and the previous studies demonstrate that the risks associated with the shipment of spent fuel by truck or rail are very small.

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