Durability Testing of the High-Capacity GA-4/GA-9 Trailer

by Alan Zimmer, General Atomics, San Diego, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: High Level Radioactive Waste Management 1993


General Atomics (GA) is under contract to the US Department of Energy (DOE), Idaho Field Office, to develop two legal-weight truck from-reactor spent-fuel shipping casks with trailers. GA is developing these high-capacity transport systems to support the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management's (OCRWM) mission to transport spent fuel from reactors to a permanent disposal site. GA's goal is to maximize the number of fuel assemblies that the transport can safely carry. The GA-4 Cask is being designed to transport four pressurized-water-reactor (PWR) spent-fuel assemblies, and the GA-9 Cask is being designed to transport nine boiling-water-reactor (BWR) spent-fuel assemblies. The use of these high-capacity transport systems will have a large benefit to public safety since the number of legal-weight truck shipments will be reduced by at least a factor of four over existing spent-fuel shipping cask systems. Achieving these capacities requires that the weight of each component of the transport system, i.e., cask, trailer and tractor, be minimized. The weight of the trailer is of particular importance. With a high load-to-weight ratio, the durability and reliability of the trailer become significant factors in the success of the transport system. In order to verify that the trailer design will meet the durability and performance requirements to safely transport spent-fuel, GA has planned an extensive testing program. The testing program includes non-destructive examination (NDE) of the trailer welds, operational testing, a static load test, an over-the-road performance test, and a test to verify the durability of the trailer up to its 1,000,000-mile design life. Since a prototype cask will not be available for the testing, GA designed and built a dummy payload that simulates the correct weight distribution and approximates the dynamic response of the prototype cask.

Subject Headings: Transportation safety | Load tests | Nondestructive tests | Fuels | Trucks | Radioactive wastes | Nuclear power | Fatigue tests | United States | Georgia | Idaho

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