quirements for spent fuel and high-level waste transportation packages; describes some key investigations of package loading conditions that have furthered technical understanding of package performance; and offers findings and recommendations about current standards and regulations and about improvements in package performance.

There is extensive literature on package performance in response to extreme thermomechanical conditions. Some of this work appears in the “gray” literature,2 which may or may not be peer reviewed. There is also extensive classified literature on package performance in response to potential terrorist acts.3 As discussed in Chapter 1, the committee did not review this classified literature or perform an in-depth examination of package performance in response to terrorist acts. The committee does, however, comment on this issue in Chapter 5.


Packages for the transport of spent fuel and high-level waste are designed to meet three basic requirements both during normal conditions of transport4 and during a range of hypothetical accident conditions established in 10 CFR Part 71:5

  1. Prevent an unsafe configuration (i.e., accidental criticality6) of spent fuel.

  2. Prevent or limit the release of radioactive contents.

  3. Limit dose rates on external package surfaces to acceptable levels.

A wide range of package designs have been developed to meet these general performance requirements.


The U.S. Interagency Gray Literature Working Group defines gray literature as “foreign or domestic open source material that usually is available through specialized channels and may not enter normal channels or systems of publication, distribution, bibliographic control, or acquisition by booksellers or subscription agents.” (Gray Information Functional Plan, January 18, 1995, accessed at http://www.osti.gov/graylit/whatsnew.html). This literature includes technical reports, conference proceedings, and business documents.


In addition, some unclassified literature on this topic was removed from public circulation after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.


Normal conditions of transport subject packages to minor mishaps due to rough handling or exposure to weather. Such conditions would not be expected to compromise the vital containment functions of the package.


Title 10, Part 71 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Packaging and Transport of Radioactive Material. The hypothetical accident conditions are described in subpart 73 (i.e., 10 CFR 71.73).


That is, a configuration that allows the establishment of a self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction as occurs in an operating nuclear reactor.

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