Tuesday, July 21, 2015

How safe is shipping casks of Peach Bottom, Pa. nuclear waste elsewhere?

Designed to hold only a single rod of spent fuel, a 23-ton Peach Bottom shipping cask was originally fabricated by Atomics International for the Hallam Nuclear Generating Station near Hallam, Nebraska. In operation only from 1963 to 1964, the Hallam reactor was decommissioned because of “corrosion” and “stress cracking.” In 1969 its nuclear components were sealed in concrete.

The Loaded Peach Bottom Single Element Shipping Cask
(also known as the Hallam Cask)

Gulf General Atomic leased this cask from the Atomic Energy Commission for transporting irradiated fuel from the Peach Bottom Nuclear Generating Station.

While en route to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the early afternoon of December 8, 1971, the loaded shipping cask was involved in a highway accident on U.S. Route 25W about three miles north of Clinton, Tennessee:


"The vehicle wrecked in the ditch beside the roadway. The impact, as the cask came to rest with the leading end embedded 3 ft deep in soil, broke the cask tie chains. The tractor with trailer attached traveled 52 ft in the original direction of travel and was upside down when it skidded to a stop. The driver of the cask vehicle was killed in the accident; no other injuries occurred."
     -- From "The Peach Bottom Spent Fuel Element Shipping Cask Accident December 8, 1971," The Oak Ridge National Laboratory Report by John M. Chandler, at this current site:

 Another view of the accident shows its proximity to the unsuspecting public

Checking the cask for radiation

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