Need for Confirmatory Experiments on the Radioactive Source Term from Potential Sabotage of Spent Nuclear Fuel Casks

A technical review is presented of experiment activities and state of knowledge on air-borne, radiation source terms resulting from explosive sabotage attacks on spent reactor fuel subassemblies in shielded casks. Current assumptions about the behavior of irradiated fuel are largely based on a limited number of experimental results involving unirradiated, depleted uranium dioxide surrogate fuel. The behavior of irradiated nuclear fuel subjected to explosive conditions could be different from the behavior of the surrogate fuel, depending on the assumptions made by the evaluator. Available data indicate that these potential differences could result in errors, and possible orders-of-magnitude overestimates of aerosol dispersion and potential health effects from sabotage attacks. Furthermore, it is suggested that the current assumptions used in arriving at existing regulations for the transportation and storage of spent fuel in the U.S. are overly conservative. This, in turn, has led to potentially higher-than-needed operating expenses for those activities. A confirmatory experimental program is needed to develop a realistic correlation between source terms of irradiated fuel and unirradiated fuel. The motivations for performing the confirmatory experimental program are also presented.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Features: References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 24p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01104304
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: SAND2002-1027
  • Files: NTL, TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 17 2008 9:23AM