Reported Incidents Involving Spent Nuclear Fuel Shipments
1949 to Present

May 6, 1996

There have been 72 reported incidents involving spent nuclear fuel shipments from 1949 to present.

The 72 incidents can be characterized as follows:

Eight incidents of radioactive material contamination (between 1960-1984) involved leaks of water, liquid, or (reported as) coolant/moderator from casks which were discovered during shipping. Description of the events and equipment are insufficient to evaluate the failure mechanisms or sources of contamination. However, the abbreviated information provided seems to indicate contributing factors may include the absence of regulations for design and use of transport casks, inadequate procedures, or not following the procedures. Some of the earlier incidents occur-red prior to the establishment of formal transportation regulations (1.966). (See attached incident reports.)

Attached is a table describing each of the 72 incidents in more detail.

Reported Incidents Involving Spent Nuclear Fuel Shipments
1949 to Present (72 incidents by type)

Date
Mode
Incident Description
Radioactive material contamination beyond the vehicle (4 of 72 incidents):
6/2/60 Rail Leak from cask, small areas at three rail yards contaminated, no runoff or aerial dispersion.
8/21/62 Truck  Cask leakage, trailer and small portion of road contaminated.
11/11/64 Truck Cask leakage-, trailer, packages, and terminal contaminated.
1/27/84 Truck Slow drip from bottom front end of empty cask while stored in transportation terminal
Radioactive material contamination confined to vehicle (4 of 72 incidents):
11/20/60  Truck Small leak from cask onto trailer floor, result, of shifting cask, contamination confined to vehicle.
9/22/61 Truck Leak from cask onto trailer floor, result of shifting, contamination confined to vehicle.
12/10/63 Rail Cask leakage, cask contaminated, contamination confined to trailer.
7/4/76 Truck Pinhole leak of, reported as, coolant/moderator on outside jacket of cask. Shipment continued without risk to public.
Transportation accident. no release or contamination (13 of 72 incidents):
12/1/56 Truck Slid off icy road and overturned, 2 casks, I fell off trailer, no damage, no release.
1/29/57 Rail Uncoupling, damage from debris, no release.
4/15/60 Truck Trailer unhitched from tractor at 5 mph, no release.
11115160 Truck Truck jackknifed, struck station wagon, no release.
12/7/60 Rail Engine backed into cask car ' on siding, no release.
7/14/61 Rail Minor derailment at 10-12 mph, no release.
12/8/71 Truck Truck left 'road and cask thrown off, no release.
3/29/74 Rail Derailed tank car struck cask car in yard, empty cask, no release.
2/9/78 Truck Trailer buckled from weight, no release.
8/13/78 Truck Empty cask broke through trailer bed, no release.
12/9/83 Truck Tractor separated from intermediate set of axles, remained connected to trailer, no release.
3/24/87 Rail Train struck automobile at rail crossing, no release.'
1/9/88 Rail One set of rail car wheels derailed when switching tracks, empty cask, no release.
Surface contamination (49 of 72 incidents):
1/24/74 Truck Surface contamination on shipping pallet.
2/26/74 Truck Surface contamination on pallet and truck, empty cask.
4/29/74 Truck Surface contamination on pallet.
12/11/74 Truck Surface contamination on pallet.
12/23/74 Truck Surface contamination on pallet.
1/13/75 Truck Surface contamination on cask.
2/27/77 Truck Surface contamination on lifting yoke, empty cask.
4/13/77 Truck Surface contamination on trailer, empty cask.
5/3/77 Truck Surface contamination on empty cask.
5/12/77 Truck Surface contamination on empty cask.
5/16/77 Truck Surface contamination caused by small crack in impact limiter.
7/26/77 Truck Surface contamination on empty cask.
8/3/77 Truck Surface contamination.
8/23/77 Truck Surface contamination on cask.
2/16/78 Truck Surface contamination caused by open drain valve, empty cask.
2/27/78 Truck Surface contamination on empty cask.
5/16/78 Truck Surface contamination on empty cask.
7/24/78 Truck Surface contamination on empty cask.
7/29178 Truck Surface contamination on cask.
8/1/78 Truck Surface contamination on cask.
8/7/78 Truck Surface contamination on cask.
11/27/78 Rail Surface contamination on empty cask, yoke, and rail car caused by defective valve or closure.
3/28/79 Truck Surface contamination on empty cask and trailer.
4/2/79 Truck Surface contamination on cask.
4/2/79 Truck Surface contamination on empty cask.
4/3/79 Truck Surface contamination on tire chains, hold-down chains, and tighteners caused by loading or unloading cask from trailer.
4/4/79 Truck Surface contamination on empty cask.
4/5/79 Truck Surface contamination on trailer, empty cask.
7/23/80 Truck Surface contamination on empty cask
8/25/80 Truck Surface contamination on cask.
2/2/81 Truck Surface contamination on empty cask and trailer
5/30/81 Truck Surface contamination on cask and trailer.
5/31/81 Truck Surface contamination on empty cask.
6/2/81 Truck Surface contamination on cask. Third consecutive instance of surface contamination, NRC suspends further shipments.
8/25/83 Truck Surface contamination on. empty cask.
9/30/83 Truck Surface contamination on empty cask.
10/21/83 Truck Surface contamination on empty cask.
1/7/84 Truck Surface contamination on empty cask.
1/25/84 Truck Surface contamination on empty cask.
2/24/84 Truck Surface contamination on cask.
1/11/85 Truck Surface contamination on trailer, empty cask.
2/3/85 Truck Surface contamination on cask.
7/8/85 Truck Surface contamination on empty cask.
2/28/86 Truck Surface contamination on empty cask.
7/29/86 Truck Surface contamination on cask.
7/29/86 Truck Surface contamination on empty cask and trailer
8/19/86 Truck Surface contamination on cask.
10115191 Truck Surface contamination on empty cask.
8/14/92 Truck Surface contamination on cask.
Unknown (2 of 72):
1965-1967 One incident, details not available.
1968-1970 One incident, details not available.

DEFINITIONS FOR RELEASE AND CONTAMINATION AS USED IN TRANSPORT ACCIDENT OR EVENT REPORTS

RELEASE:

An official definition for release from a cask is not found in NRC's 10 CFR 7 1 (i.e., the Definitions section 71.4). However, an NRC definition of release as it pertains to transportation can be inferred from 10 CFR 71 as follows:

[10 CFR 71.4, Definitions] "Containment System means the components of a packaging intended to retain the radioactive material during transport."

[10 CFR 71.5 1, Additional requirements for Type B packages.] Paragraph (a)(1) prohibits loss or dispersal of radioactive contents for Normal Condition of Transport. Paragraph (a)(2) restricts escape of krypton or other radioactive materials for Hypothetical Accident Conditions. Finally, the word release is used in paragraph (b) which states: "Compliance ,with the permitted activity release limits of paragraph (a) of this section must not depend upon filters or upon a mechanical cooling system."

From the above 10 CFR 71 material we can develop a definition that is consistent with NRC's rules and regulations. Release means loss, dispersal, or escape of radioactive material from the package's containment system.

CONTAMINATION:

[10 CFR 71.87(l)(1) and (1)(2), Routine determinations.] refer to . non-fixed (removable) radioactive contamination on external surfaces. These paragraphs prescribe specific limits for transport of radioactive materials. However, a formal definition is not provided.

Although the NRC's regulations do not provide a definition for contamination in 10 CFR 7 1, a definition is provided in NUREG-0770 (U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Glossary of Terms Nuclear Power and radiation, NUREG-0770,Washington, DC 20555, June 1981). Contamination: "The deposition of unwanted radioactive material on the surface of structures, areas objects, or personnel."

March 6,.1996