Nuclear Matinee: Test Missile vs. Spent Fuel Cask

Yes, of course… in super slo-mo.  Today’s Nuclear Matinee features videos of a recent test conducted to simulate an aircraft crash on a HI-STAR 180 spent nuclear fuel transport cask, a product of Holtec International that is completing rigorous certification for the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate.

This will be one tough, and well-sealed, cask.  The missile strike from the US Army’s Aberdeen Proving Grounds launcher was at over 600 miles per hour – and resulted in no breach of containment integrity on the test scaled model:

The results in super slow-motion:


The post-impact inspection of the cask showed that it weathered the impact with large performance margins confirming our dynamicists’ predictions…” see this Holtec Highlights release for all the details.

missile vs cask 321x201

 Thanks to NEI Network on YouTube and Holtec International 

4 thoughts on “Nuclear Matinee: Test Missile vs. Spent Fuel Cask

  1. Atomikrabbit

    The antis will say “but what if it carried a shaped charge?”

    You prove it will withstand a shaped charge and they say “what about a sabot round?”

    You test it with a sabot round and they ask “what if a series of shaped charges and sabot rounds were fired successively at the same spot?”

    (this is starting to feel like an audition for UCS Chief Scientist)

    You fire all those things at it and find no dangerous amounts of material are released to the public. “But we think you should put them all underground or in a fabulously expensive reinforced concrete building anyway. Safety. Best Available Technology. New EIS. We will sue.”

    And then they have the gall to pronounce “anyway, it doesn’t matter what you do, or how many tests you run, because nuclear takes too long and is too expensive”.

  2. W. Don Seaborg

    Well, maybe – but its worth it, at least in my opinion. Neither oil, gas, or coal has the potential for adverse effects to the general population and environment that a comparable volume or mass of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) does. Even a few tanker train cars of chlorine (pretty common in our society) lacks that potential. Plus, we need to be honest – we have a very skeptical and generally untrained public that has legitimate questions. (I’m not talking here about the visceral nuclear opponents that no logic will ever convince anyway). In my experience the vast majority of the general public is intelligent, willing to listen and to be educated about nuclear energy and nuclear waste. But we in the field need to respect their questions and concerns and deal with them as professionally, patiently, thoroughly, and honestly as we can. Nothing is better to spark real questioning from people that care than a video such as this.

  3. James Greenidge

    I’m trying to figure out the last time a plane much less a missile hit a train or truck carrying oil or gas or coal, forget nuclear casks. Is this cautionary reassurance overkill or what?

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

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