Packaging Radioactive Materials for the Nuclear Industry with High Density Polyurethane Foams

Columbiana Hi Tech (CHT) has been lending support to the entire nuclear fuel cycle for the past 30 years, delivering specialized products and custom fabrication for the nuclear industry. Founded by Don Olson in the year 1985, the company offers a wide range of products; from the storage of nuclear materials to front-end and back-end transport.

They also provide equipment that is used for maintenance support during outages. Expert machining and welding services are also provided by CHT.

CHT offers the following services for the Nuclear Fuel Cycle:

  • Front End Transport
  • Reactor Services – Ancillary equipment
  • Back End Transport/Storage

New UX-30 with SST plate

Figure 1. New UX-30 with SST plate

The stringent quality regulations and requirements laid down by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for the storage and transport methods of nuclear materials are met by CHT. According to NRC mandates, manufacturers involved in transportation of nuclear materials or the production of transportation materials must acquire the necessary licensing or certificates as the case may be.

According to the ‘crash and fire protection’ regulations laid down by NRC, radioactive materials (RAM) packages need to withstand temperatures as high as 1,475 °F, 30 ft free drops and 30 minute fire conditions. Figure 1 shows the new UX-30 with SST plate.

Columbiana Hi Tech delivers products that are tailor made to suit the design and requirements of the customer. Some the products delivered include: clamshells for pressurized water reactor (PWR) fuel assemblies and Traveler protective shipping containers (Figure 2).

High density polyurethane foams and heavy gauge stainless steel are used to manufacture these products. The ability to absorb impact is provided by the polyurethane foam and structural strength is provided by the stainless steel.

Traveller protective shipping containers

Figure 2. Traveller protective shipping containers

FR-3700 Rigid Foam from General Plastics

CHT, the leading radioactive packaging manufacturer, is expected to meet the strict QA programs. The components used for manufacturing the packaging material also need to comply with stringent quality guidelines.

LAST-A-FOAM FR-3700 Performance Core Series from General Plastics are being used in all client projects of CHT for the past 15 years after it was confirmed that this foam material to a large extent meets the specifications set by NRC.

When the FR-3700 foam is subjected to fire an intumescent char is formed due to the inbuilt fire retardant mechanism. The foam is a closed-cell, rigid polyurethane foam with a high strength-to-weight ratio which is resistant to many solvents and chemicals. There is negligible influence of common petroleum products on the foam.

The foam is expected to maintain its physical properties during its normal life span for most of its applications. Tests conducted on the FR-3700 reveal that its compressive strength and char formation remain consistent even over long term usage unlike polymeric and wood materials.

The benefits of LAST-A-FOAM® FR-3700 include:

  • Adheres to radioactive material (RAM) regulations
  • Closed-cell foam exhibiting intumescent properties
  • High strength-to-weight ratio
  • Does not crack, swell,or split when exposed to water
  • Reliable long-term performance
  • Biologically inert
  • Resistant to most chemicals and solvents
  • Better performance than wood and other polymeric materials

Download the LAST-A-FOAM® FR-3700 datasheet

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by General Plastics Manufacturing.

For more information on this source, please visit General Plastics Manufacturing.

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