The 30 cm drop is the remaining NRC normal conditions of transport (NCT) regulatory requirement (10 CFR 71.71) for which there are no data on the response of spent fuel. While obtaining data on the spent fuel is not a direct requirement, it allows for quantifying the risk of fuel breakage resulting from a cask drop from a height of 30 cm or less. Because a full-scale cask and impact limiters are very expensive, 3 consecutive drop tests were conducted to obtain strains on a full-scale surrogate 17 × 17 PWR assembly. The first step was a 30 cm drop of a 1/3 scale cask loaded with dummy assemblies. The second step was a 30 cm drop test of a full-scale dummy assembly. The third step was a 30 cm drop of a full-scale surrogate assembly. The results of this final test are presented in this paper. The test was conducted in May 2020. The acceleration pulses on the surrogate assembly were in good agreement with the expected pulses derived from steps 1 and 2. This confirmed that during the 30 cm drop the surrogate assembly experienced the same conditions as it would have if it had been dropped in a full-scale cask with impact limiters. The surrogate assembly was instrumented with 27 strain gauges. Pressure paper was inserted between the rods within the two long and two short spacer grid spans in order to register the pressure in case of rod-to-rod contact. The maximum observed peak strain on the surrogate assembly was 1,724 microstrain at the bottom end of the assembly. The pressure paper sheets from the two short spans were blank. The pressure paper sheets from the two long spans, except a few middle ones, showed marks indicating rod-to-rod contact. The maximum estimated contact pressure was 4,100 psi. The longitudinal bending stress corresponding to the maximum observed strain value (calculated from the stress-strain curve for low burnup cladding) was 22,230 psi. Both values are significantly below the yield strength of the cladding. The major conclusion is that the fuel rods will maintain their integrity following a 30 cm drop inside of a transportation cask.

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