Second quarter of 2000
shipping container fails drop test in the US
WISE-Paris, 4 May 2000
plutonium shipping container (type 9975) showed severe damage after
a drop test was carried out during the last week of March 2000 at the
Savannah River Site. The information is contained in the 7 April 2000
report on Savannah River by the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board
(DNFSB) and was highlighted by the opposition group Women's Action for
New Directions (WAND).
The following is an excerpt of the 7 April 2000 DNFSB report.
Shipping Containers: Last week, one of two 9975 containers that was
drop-tested showed a large separation between the outer container (a
35 gal drum) and its lid. This raises the concern that the lid might
come off during a major transportation accident. Resolution may impact
Rocky Flats plutonium shipments to K-Area Material Storage later this
year. Those shipments have already been delayed due to problems with
the Rocky Flats packaging system (site rep weekly, 3/3/00)."
the 30 foot drop test produced a gap about 4 inch long by 9/16 inch
wide (maximum) between the lid and container. The test acceptance criteria
is a gap less than 3 inches long by 1/8 inch wide. The container was
pre-damaged by an inclined 4 foot drop, simulating an earlier handling
mishap. The drop tests were being done to resolve regulator comments.
Some of those comments were on the closure ring design, since an earlier
test with the heavier 9974 container (a 55 gal drum design) had identified
that the closure ring could be marginal. This week, SRTC and WSRC began
to look at design upgrades, considering two options: (a) a bolted flange
closure similar to that used on Y-12 DT-22 shipping containers and (b)
a J-clamp clam-shell design. A path forward is still under development
and is expected in about 2 weeks."