The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) is developing a safety case for the long-term management of higher activity wastes. This includes safety assessments of transport to and operations at the repository. One of the main faults and hazards to be considered is waste package response to impact accidents.
The criteria of impact performance for waste packages are based upon activity release of particulates generated from the break up of the waste form during impact. The NDA approach to impact performance is based upon waste package response from finite element modelling in combination with break-up tests.
Previous break up research commissioned by the NDA has concentrated on commercial graphite and glass samples. These extended studies, undertaken by the National Nuclear Laboratory in collaboration with the Department of Aerosol Technology of the Fraunhofer Institute of Toxicology and Experimental Medicine, provide break-up data specific to nuclear facilities and waste materials. These include archived unirrradiated graphite used to construct Magnox reactor cores and reflectors, simulant high level waste glass, selected grout formulations and selected metal-in-grout formulations.