In the transportation of radioactive waste, the package is designed as the major engineered system capable to ensure the containment and provide safety functions, such as radiation shielding, structural integrity against external mechanical and thermal loads, dissipation of the decay heat, etc. Packaging systems are designed in accordance to rigorous acceptance requirements, like the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) ones, so to provide protection to human being and environment against radiation exposure and contamination, particularly in reference accident scenarios including, as it is widely known in literature, drop, puncture, fire and submersion tests. The scope of the present study is to evaluate the structural response and performance in a free drop test condition of a new Italian packaging system that should be used for the transportation of low and intermediate level radioactive wastes. For this purpose the carried out numerical analyses are presented and discussed. The numerical analyses, performed by the finite element MARC® code, simulate the behaviour of the packaging system components: the overpack, gasket, cover lid, bolts and a concrete matrix representative of the radioactive content.
The obtained results for 1.2 m horizontal drop, on a flat and unyielding surface, were critically analysed and also compared to the experimental ones obtained from the experimental test campaign performed at the Unipi test facility on the new Italian packaging system considered.
The stress and acceleration values indicate that the package, although rather local deformations in correspondence of bolts and secondary lid, is capable to withstand the dynamic loading generated during the drop test without any unacceptable loss of the safety features.