This paper presents a feasibility study to improve thermal loading of existing radioactive material packages by using heat pipes. The concept could be used to channel heat in certain directions and dissipate to the environment. The concept is applied to a drum type package because the drum type packages are stored and transported in an upright position. This orientation is suitable for heat pipe operation that could facilitate the heat pipe implementation in the existing well proven package designs or in new designs where thermal loading is high. In this position, heat pipes utilize gravity very effectively to enhance heat flow in the upward direction Heat pipes have extremely high effective thermal conductivity that is several magnitudes higher than the most heat conducting metals. In addition, heat pipes are highly unidirectional so that the effective conductivity for heat transfer in the reverse direction is greatly reduced. The concept is applied to the 9977 package that is currently going through the DOE certification review. The paper presents computer simulations using typical of-the-shelf heat pipe available configurations and performance data for the 9977 package. A path forward is outlined for implementing the concepts for further study and prototype testing.

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