Structural analysis in support of the waterborne transport of radioactive materials Page: 1 of 10
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STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS IN SUPPORT OF THE
WAT R'ORNE TRANSPORT OF RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS*
D -uglas J. Ammerman
Sand i National Laboratories
Albuquerque, New Mexico
The safety of the transportation of radioactive materials by road and
rail has been well studied and documented. However, the safety of
waterborne transportation has received much less attention. Recent
highly visible waterborne transportation campaigns have led the DOE
and IAEA to focus attention on the safety of this transportation mode. In
response, Sandia National Laboratories is conducting a program to
establish a method to determine the safety of these shipments. As part of
that program the mechanics involved in ship-to-ship collisions are being
evaluated to determine the loadings imparted to radioactive material
transportation packages during these collisions. This paper will report
on the results of these evaluations.
Sandia National Laboratories' (SNL) SeaRAM project (McConnell et
al. 1995), which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
is studying the safety of shipping radioactive materials (RAM) by sea,.
The project is concerned with the potential effects of ship collisions and
fires to on-board RAM packages. Existing methodologies are being
assessed to determine their adequacy to predict the effect of ship
collisions and fires on RAM packages and to estimate whether or not a
given accident might lead to a release of radioactivity. The eventual goal
is to develop a set of validated methods, which have been checked by
comparison with test data and/or detailed finite element analyses, for
predicting the consequences of ship collisions and fires. These methods
could then be used to provide input for overall risk assessments of RAM
sea transport. The emphasis of this paper is on methods for predicting
the effects of ship collisions.
A concern regarding the safety of RAM transport by sea is the
possibility of another ship striking the RAM-carrying ship leading to
leakage of a RAM package(s). One basis for this concern is the large
amount of kinetic energy of the striking ship. Kinetic energies in excess
*This work was supported by the U. S. Department of Energy under Contract
JUT 3 016
of those for the regulatory impact test exist. This is due to the relatively
large mass of some cargo ships and oil tankers, even though ship
velocities are relatively small (usually less than 13.4 m/s).
The large amount of kinetic energy associated with ship collisions
produces the impression that these collisions may result in greater
damage to on-board radioactive material packages than the hypothetical
accident sequence the packages are designed to withstand. However, the
kinetic energy of the collision is not all absorbed in deformation of the
radioactive material package as it is in the 9-meter drop onto an
essentially rigid target. Therefore, the amount of kinetic energy in the
collision is not an appropriate measure to assess the likelihood or degree
of package damage. A better metric is the acceleration imposed on the
packages during impact. Type B packages are designed to be leak-tight
after being dropped from a height of 9 meters onto an essentially
unyielding surface. Typical rigid body uniform accelerations
experienced during impact are in the range of 50 to 200 G or higher.
However, the highest levels of acceleration during a ship collision are
less than 10 G (e.g. Lenselink and Thung 1992), much less than expected
for the 9-meter drop. The lower accelerations are due to the 'flexibility'
of the impact surface, which is the deformable RAM-carrying ship and
the bow of the striking ship. Thus, only quasi-static, "crush" types of
loading are of concern.
Only cases in which the RAM-carrying ship is struck by another ship
are considered as possible threats to RAM package integrity. Other
collision scenarios in which the RAM ship strikes another ship or a rigid
pier or runs aground are not believed to pose a threat to the packages
since the packages are (presumably) stowed well away from the impact
There are two types of analyses that are necessary to determine if a
given ship collision might lead to leakage from a RAM package. The
first is a global analysis, devoted to the deformation of the ships during
a collision, with the main output being the relative velocity of the
striking ship as a function of depth of penetration into the struck (RAM-
carrying) ship. The second analysis would be concerned with the "local"
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Ammerman, D.J. Structural analysis in support of the waterborne transport of radioactive materials, article, August 1, 1996; Albuquerque, New Mexico. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc673141/m1/1/: accessed December 13, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.