New Methodologies of Assessing the Safety of Spent Nuclear Fuel Transport outside the Site

Researchers at the Hefei Institute of Physical Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have proposed systematic methods for risk assessment and route optimization that can reduce radioactive risk, the amount of time spent and the cost of road and sea transport of spent fuel.

The main purpose of carrying out a risk assessment of spent nuclear fuel transport is comprehensive identification, characterization and quantification of numerous risk factors of a complex transport system. This will help identifying potential weaknesses in the system and help determining preventive measures to mitigate the transport risks.

In particular, the scientists proposed a radioactive risk-informed integrated path planning (RICPP) method for spent fuel road transport under multi-objective and weight-constrained route optimization indexes, considering radioactive risk cost, time cost and economic cost, which facilitates the selection of a safer and more economical route.

Due to the lack of comprehensive characterization and quantitative analysis of internal and external risk factors such as human error, ship failure, and navigation environment in the risk assessment of spent fuel maritime transportation, they suggested an integrated probabilistic risk assessment (IPRA) method integrating deterministic and probabilistic modeling perspectives, including comprehensive risk indicators and radionuclide diffusion hydrodynamic models.
This study could help build a road-sea-rail multimodal transport support system for spent fuel from nuclear power plants.

In addition, it provides theoretical guidance for the safety design optimization and operation risk management of small modular nuclear reactor, mobile nuclear power supply, small mobile space reactor and other radioactive material transportation systems.

According to Tech Xplore