Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have completed a structural-dynamic analysis of spent nuclear fuel subjected to the mechanical shock and vibration environment that is anticipated during normal conditions of transport in casks carried by the Atlas railcar. The Atlas railcar is a new railcar design that is being developed specifically for the purpose of carrying spent nuclear fuel casks. The analysis used best-estimate railcar dynamics models of the Atlas railcar and considered 17 different spent nuclear fuel transportation cask systems, representing the current fleet of cask options. This work used NUCARS, a specialized railcar dynamics explicit finite element code to calculate railcar dynamic response to prescribed speeds and track configurations. The railcar dynamics models provided cask transient motion for a wide range of speeds and track conditions, generating a relatively large database of potential cask motion. All of the cask motion transients were then applied as loading conditions to LS-DYNA structural-dynamic models of a single fuel rod. The analyses predict that the Equipos Nucleares S.A./U.S. Department of Energy (ENSA/DOE) multimodal transportation test of 2017 provided a relatively stronger vibration environment than is expected from the Atlas railcar. This paper describes the analysis methods, the analysis results, and compares the results of the Atlas transportation analysis to the test results and analyses of the ENSA/DOE multimodal transportation test of 2017.

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