A look back at 1984 U.K. spent fuel flask test

September 29, 2020, 9:32AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The government of the United Kingdom conducted a series of tests in the 1980s to assess the robustness of spent nuclear fuel packages. One such test involved ramming a 140-ton diesel locomotive into a transportation canister, called a nuclear flask, at 100 miles per hour. The test, according to a recent article published by the online magazine The Drive, was a “smashing” success. Just 0.29 psi of pressure escaped the 50-ton test flask, which had been pressurized to 100 psi.

Posted with The Drive article is a Magnox-produced video of the test, called “Operation Smash Hit,” showing the driverless train—pulling the added mass of three passenger cars—plowing into the flask at full speed. The locomotive is almost completely destroyed, but little damage is done to the flask.

The government of the United Kingdom conducted a series of tests in the 1980s to assess the robustness of spent nuclear fuel packages. One such test involved ramming a 140-ton diesel locomotive into a transportation canister, called a nuclear flask, at 100 miles per hour. The test, according to a recent article published by the online magazine The Drive, was a “smashing” success. Just 0.29 psi of pressure escaped the 50-ton test flask, which had been pressurized to 100 psi.


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