Due to delays in the siting procedure to establish a deep geological repository for spent nuclear fuel and high level waste and in construction of the already licensed Konrad repository for low and intermediate level waste, extended periods of interim storage will become more relevant in Germany. BAM is involved in most of the cask licensing procedures and is responsible for the evaluation of cask-related long-term safety issues. Elastomeric seals are widely used as barrier seals for containers for low and intermediate level radioactive waste. In addition they are also used as auxiliary seals in spent fuel storage and transportation casks (dual purpose casks (DPC)).

To address the complex requirements resulting from the described applications, BAM has initiated several test programs for investigating the behavior of elastomeric seals. These include experiments concerning the hyperelastic and viscoelastic behavior at different temperatures and strain rates, the low temperature performance down to −40°C, the influence of gamma irradiation and the aging behavior.

The first part of the paper gives an overview of these tests, their relevant results and their possible impact on BAM’s work as a consultant in the framework of approval and licensing procedures.

The second part presents an approach of the development of a finite element model using the finite element code ABAQUS®. The long-term goal is to simulate the complex elastomeric behavior in a complete lid closure system under specific operation and accident conditions.

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