We know just what nukiller waste flasks look like from the outside, but their interior design is unknown.
We also know very little about how they are tested or maintained.
Thus what we are left with are some very worrying questions.
What we know.
– They are transported through our city centres on a regular basis.
– These waste trains are operated by DRS [ Direct Rail Services ], which is subsidiary company of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.
– That they carry highly radioactive used fuel rods from the various nukiller reactors to Sellafield.
Testing the Design
Yet we know very little about the construction of these flasks, how often they are subjected to any structural tests, or just how long each flask is in use before it needs to be replaced.
The flasks were designed over 40 years, and I wonder just what potential stress points might show up if they were ever to be subjected to any modern computer modelling tests.
What we need to see.
What needs to kept in mind is that none of the activists I’ve talked to about this issue have ever seen any photographs of technical drawings of the inner parts of these flasks.
The best we ever get to see are illustrations such as this.
Thus while all the illustrations of these flasks show the fuel rods stacked horizontally, they might well be loaded vertically, which would make it faster to load and unload them.
It’s a Steel
When Steel is subjected to Radiation, then some of it becomes radioactive Cobalt 60.
Thus some of these flasks must contain Cobol 60, or at least the Skip in which the fuel rods are placed.
What we don’t know is just how much radioactivity the skips which form the central part of the flask has been subjected to.
This is not something which can be calculated by the length of time the flasks have been in existence, but by the total number of hours the used fuel rods been placed in them.
These are just a few of the questions which we need to ask and keep asking.
This book was published in 1984, and contains one of the most useful illustrations of how a waste flask is constructed which I’ve yet to see.