The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is studying the performance of seals in spent nuclear fuel (SNF) transportation packages exposed to fires that could exceed the hypothetical accident condition fire described in Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 71, such as the Baltimore Tunnel Fire that occurred in 2001, or the MacArthur Maze fire that occurred in 2007. The performance of package seals is important for determining the potential for release of radioactive material from a package during a beyond-design-basis accident. Seals generally have lower temperature limits than other package components and are the containment barrier between the environment and the radioactive package contents. The NRC Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research contracted the National Institute of Standards and Technology to conduct small-scale thermal testing to obtain experimental data of the performance of seals during extreme temperature exposures. The experimental testing consisted of several small-scale pressure vessels fabricated with a modified ASME flange design and tested metallic and polymeric seals, similar to those that might be used on an actual SNF transportation package. The vessels were heated in an electrical oven to temperatures as high as 800°C (1472°F), exceeding the rated temperatures of the seals in question. This paper will provide a summary of the testing conducted and present test results and conclusions.

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