GLA Investigative Committee Review into Transportation of Radioactive Waste by Train through London - Questions & Answers
Q1. You make a large number of recommendations for ways of obtaining further information. Where would you say the priorities lie, in the light of the aims of this inquiry?
We understand that the review will focus on emergency planning and trackside contamination and contributors are asked to consider three areas:
(i) Why should the transportation of radioactive waste concern Londoners?
(ii) Is there an alternative to transporting radioactive waste by train?
(iii) Other issues they wish to raise.
Emergency planning addresses the possibility of an accident whilst trackside contamination addresses more routine impacts.
1. Both the possibility of an accident and routine contamination need not be contemplated if the transport of spent fuel could be avoided altogether. Although our evidence has not addressed this, we consider the first priority for the inquiry is to investigate whether this transport is necessary at all. This necessitates reviewing whether it is necessary to transport spent fuel to Sellafield for reprocessing or not. Our view is as follows:
2. At the Sizewell B Inquiry, at which the former GLC was represented, Mr Marvin Resnikoff appeared for the the Town and Country Planning Association drew attention to the issue of sabotage: those parts of the hearing were deleted from the transcript. It is understood that anti-tank weapons available today could easily penetrate a transportation flask, being able to penetrate through 1 meter of steel, at a distance of 1 km. Technical advisers to the inquiry should consider the research conducted by the US State of Nevada. 6
Nevada cites recent reports documenting changes in the nature of the terrorist threat and the increased vulnerability of flasks to attacks utilizing current antitank weapons, commercial shaped charges, and other high-energy explosive devices. The State of Nevada has evaluated the consequences of a successful terrorist attack against a flask. The analysis found that the release from a successful terrorist attack, assuming 90% and 100% penetration of the cask, could produce 2.3 to 26.7 latent cancer fatalities. It believed even more severe attack scenarios and even greater health consequences to be credible. Nevada also estimated the economic impacts of a successful terrorist attack and estimated cleanup costs and other post-incident economic impacts between $500 million to $7 billion (2000$)
3. The vast economic damage to London that would follow an accident or act of sabotage makes avoiding this hazard essential.
In the UK, as compared with many other countries, all our apples are in one basket. No regional capital begins to rival it as a centre for government, finance or tourism. One only has to multiply the effect of food and mouth on the rural economy over a short period with the vastly greater effect of a dispersal of any radioactive material over London with enduring effects.
The US State of Nevada has evaluated the radiological health consequences of a severe accident involving a large rail flask. The analysis found that the release from a severe rail accident in an urban area could result in 72 to 540 latent cancer fatalities. It also concluded that the economic impacts of cleanup and other post-accident costs in an urban area would range between $9.4 billion and $270 billion.
We therefore suggest the inquiry focus particularly on
- whether or not these transports need continue
- dangers from sabotage and
Q.2 Could you clarify whether, and if so in what ways, US requirements for spent fuel transport package tests are more severe than those recommended by the IAEA (p5, NFLA evidence)?
The US requirements are contained in their
The IAEA requirements are in
Current test requirements for spent fuel transport packages are in Title 10 CFR 71.73 (see Appendix A). New US requirements, which will take account of ST-1, are the subject of present consideration and wide public consultation.
Current US tests require 6 tests, the first five applied sequentially:
(1) sequential application of the following tests in the order listed:
(a) Impact: 30 ft onto an unyielding surface
(b) Crush: the drop of a 500 kg (1100 pound) mass from 30 ft onto the specimen
(c) Puncture: free drop from 40" onto a 6" diameter pin
(d) Thermal. 30 minute engulfing fire at 800 degrees C
(e) Immersion: immersion under a head of water of at least 0.9 m (3 ft)
(2) A separate test involving the submersion of an undamaged cask 50 feet under water for 8 hours.
IAEA requirements for packages containing fissile material, ST-1 682(b) requires tests specified in paragraphs 719-724 followed by whichever of the following is the more limiting:
the drop test onto a bar as identified in paragraph 727(b) and,
either the crush test listed in paragraph 727(c) for packages having a mass not greater than 500 kg and an overall density not greater than 1000 kg/m\3\ based on external dimensions,
or the nine meter drop test listed in paragraph 727(a) for all other packages; or the water immersion test of paragraph 729.
US requirements are therefore severer because of the required sequencing of the tests (see 10 CFR 71.73) and because they require performance of both the nine-meter free drop test and the crush test.
Deep Immersion Test
The IAEA performance requirement for deep water immersion contained in ST-1 (para. 657 and 730) is an expansion of the requirement contained in SS No. 6. The IAEA test is required to show "no rupture".
The US requirement (10 CFR 71.61) requires a deep immersion test for packages of irradiated nuclear fuel with activity greater than 10 6 Ci. This is severer SS No. 6, with respect to irradiated fuel package design requirements because it requires that a package for irradiated nuclear fuel must be designed such that its undamaged containment system can withstand an external water pressure of 2 MPa for a period of not less than one hour without collapse, buckling, or in leakage of water. The conservatism lies in the test criteria of no collapse, buckling, or in leakage and not just no rupture.
Q3. Could you clarify whether, and if so in what ways, the latest IAEA ‘regulations’ recommend tighter standards for spent fuel transport than those that currently pertain in the UK (p5, NFLA evidence)?
The Health and Safety Commission are best placed to advise the GLA on any difference between current UK standards and the new IAEA requirements. The HSC will have carried out such an analysis: see below.
Current IAEA Recommendations are to be found in ST-1 now called TS R 1.
Current UK requirements are to be found in the Packaging, Labelling and Carriage of Radioactive Materials by Rail Regulations 1996 and the associated HSC Approved Requirements.
EU Directive 2001/6/EC of 29 January 2001 requires implementation of the new element of the International agreement on carriage of dangerous goods by rail (known as "RID") which implements the substance of ST-1. The duly amended version of RID is effective as from 1 July 2001 and the EU Directive requires that its requirements for transport of radioactive materials be brought into force no later than 31 December 2001.
The requirements of Directive 2001/6/EC and RID and therefore ST-1 are the subject of present consideration by the Health and Safety Commission (see Appendix B). During October last year HSC was scheduled to consult with MOD, DTI, industry and the Radioactive Materials Transport Division of DETR. Consultation with bodies like the GLA and the public is scheduled to take place from May to July this year. This is likely to be a formality: the Directive’s requirements must be met and the consultation that matters to the HSC will already have taken place privately. This contrasts unfavourably with the approach in the USA.
NFLAs suggest that (P5): "The GLA will wish to enquire … how often containers are allowed to traverse London that do not meet the latest standards under transitional arrangements that allow containers that met earlier standards to continue in use."
The IAEA Safety Series 6 (SS No 6) Revisions dealing with transport have taken place in 1964, 1967, 1973. The 1973 Revised Edition was amended in 1979; a comprehensive revision was produced in 1985; this 1985 Edition was amended in 1990. The last major revision was concluded in the 1996 Edition, published in 1997.
Historically, IAEA regulations have included transitional arrangements or "grandfathering" provisions whenever the regulations have undergone major revision. The purpose of grandfathering is essentially to minimize the costs and impacts of implementing changes in the regulations for the benefit of the nuclear industry. In this way "Grandfathering" has permitted the continuing use of package designs that only meet the 1967 requirements until the end of 2001.
Flasks may therefore be in use that have been certified in accordance with regulations that have been superceded by three or more subsequent revisions. Grandfathering typically includes provisions that allow for:
ST-1 allows "grandfathering" to continue so that package designs that have been certified under the 1973 IAEA Regulations or subsequent regulations. Are permitted to continue in service. Packages approved under an earlier revision would either be removed from service or be required to be re-certified under the revised regulations that result from this rulemaking or be permitted to operate under exemption (i.e. special arrangement)
Q4. Could you clarify the distinction between a "reasonably foreseeable" accident, and one which is "reasonably possible having significant consequences" (p11, NFLA evidence)?
The distinction between "reasonably foreseeable" and "reasonably possible" is one of degree. Planning for fixed site nuclear emergencies uses the same "reasonably foreseeable" criterion: the effect is that although in the majority of OECD countries a 10 kilometre radius zone is used for emergency planning, in the UK this is limited to a maximum of 2.4 kilometers. NFLAs called and continue to call for such zones to be 10 kilometres with a secondary zone of 25 kilometers involving less detailed planning.
Confining emergency planning to the criterions of "reasonably foreseeable" as interpreted by the HSE has the effect of preventing adequate precautionary planning. It is events that are not reasonably foreseeable e.g. because an operative does something that is not predictable that are most likely to cause an accident. Clearly these cannot be planned against in a specific sense. We consider that the consequences of low-probability, high-consequence accidents, which HSE considers to be not reasonably foreseeable accidents, should be allowed for. This would permit local conditions, unforeseen events, sabotage, human error in flask design and such other events as an informed and consulted public felt it necessary to allow for.
We therefore suggest the alternative test of "reasonably possible having significant consequences" to allow a greater commitment to a precautionary approach.
Q5. How could "reasonably possible" be defined in this context?
This would require public participation to determine what was appropriate in the light of recommendations by the HSE and the views of the transporter. Currently the operator suggests what is reasonably foreseeable and the HSE usually accepts that and planning goes ahead on that basis, without any reference to the public perception of the risk involved and the risk considered is only to health and not to economic activity. The EU Directive requiring plans for non-nuclear major hazards provides that the public must be consulted on the external emergency plans and they must also be provided with the relevant safety report.
Q6. What changes to spent fuel transport emergency arrangements might be required by a switch to planning for "reasonably possible" accidents?
Local authorities would have to provide plans to deal with such accidents. At present they are not required to plan for transport emergencies
Q7. What changes should be made to arrangements for providing compensation in the event of an accident?
Please see the separate paper prepared on this issue.
J.K.Woolley 23rd March 2001
(Tel 0114 220 445 2 firstname.lastname@example.org)
US test requirements:
The Code of Federal Regulations: Title 10 Energy
PART 71 -- PACKAGING AND TRANSPORTATION OF
§71.73 Hypothetical accident conditions.
(a) Test procedures. Evaluation for hypothetical accident conditions is to be based on sequential application of the tests specified in this section, in the order indicated, to determine their cumulative effect on a package or array of packages. An undamaged specimen may be used for the water immersion tests specified in paragraph (c)(6) of this section.
(b) Test conditions. With respect to the initial conditions for the tests, except for the water immersion tests, to demonstrate compliance with the requirements of this part during testing, the ambient air temperature before and after the tests must remain constant at that value between -29ºC (-20ºF) and +38ºC (+100ºF) which is most unfavorable for the feature under consideration. The initial internal pressure within the containment system must be the maximum normal operating pressure, unless a lower internal pressure, consistent with the ambient temperature assumed to precede and follow the tests, is more unfavorable.
(c) Tests. Tests for hypothetical accident conditions must be conducted as follows:
(1) Free Drop. A free drop of the specimen through a distance of 9 m (30 ft) onto a flat, essentially unyielding, horizontal surface, striking the surface in a position for which maximum damage is expected.
(2) Crush. Subjection of the specimen to a dynamic crush test by positioning the specimen on a flat, essentially unyielding, horizontal surface so as to suffer maximum damage by the drop of a 500 kg (1100 pound) mass from 9 m (30 ft) onto the specimen. The mass must consist of a solid mild steel plate 1 m (40 in) by 1 m and must fall in a horizontal attitude. The crush test is required only when the specimen has a mass not greater than 500 kg (1100 lbs), an overall density not greater than 1000 kg/m3 (62.4 lbs/ft3) based on external dimensions, and radioactive contents greater than 1000 A2 not as special form radioactive material.
(3) Puncture. A free drop of the specimen through a distance of 1 m (40 in) in a position for which maximum damage is expected, onto the upper end of a solid, vertical, cylindrical, mild steel bar mounted on an essentially unyielding, horizontal surface. The bar must be 15 cm (6 in) in diameter, with the top horizontal and its edge rounded to a radius of not more than 6mm (0.25 in), and of a length as to cause maximum damage to the package, but not less than 20 cm (8 in) long. The long axis of the bar must be vertical.
(4) Thermal. Exposure of the specimen fully engulfed, except for a simple support system, in a hydrocarbon fuel/air fire of sufficient extent, and in sufficiently quiescent ambient conditions, to provide an average emissivity coefficient of at least 0.9, with an average flame temperature of at least 800ºC (1475ºF) for a period of 30 minutes, or any other thermal test that provides the equivalent total heat input to the package and which provides a time averaged environmental temperature of 800ºC. The fuel source must extend horizontally at least 1 m (40 in), but may not extend more than 3 m (10 ft), beyond any external surface of the specimen, and the specimen must be positioned 1 m (40 in) above the surface of the fuel source. For purposes of calculation, the surface absorptivity coefficient must be either that value which the package may be expected to possess if exposed to the fire specified or 0.8, whichever is greater; and the convective coefficient must be that value which may be demonstrated to exist if the package were exposed to the fire specified. Artificial cooling may not be applied after cessation of external heat input, and any combustion of materials of construction, must be allowed to proceed until it terminates naturally.
(5) Immersion -- fissile material. For fissile material subject to §71.55, in those cases where water in leakage has not been assumed for criticality analysis, immersion under a head of water of at least 0.9 m (3 ft) in the attitude for which maximum leakage is expected.
(6) Immersion -- all packages. A separate, undamaged specimen must be subjected to water pressure equivalent to immersion under a head of water of at least 15 m (50 ft). For test purposes, an external pressure of water of 150 kPa (21.7 lbf/in2) gauge is considered to meet these conditions.
Health and Safety Executive Board Paper
Meeting Date: 18 October 2000
Cancellation Date: 31 December 2001
Open Government Status: Fully Open
HEALTH AND SAFETY EXECUTIVE
The HSE Board
NEW REQUIREMENTS FOR CARRIAGE OF RADIOACTIVE MATERIAL BY RAIL
A Paper by Jonathan Russell
Adviser(s): Anne Morley
Cleared by Clive Norris on 9 October 2000
1 Earlier than anticipated requirement to implement the International Agreement on Transport of Radioactive Materials (class 7 dangerous goods) and its implications.
2 HSE needs to implement the new requirements for carriage of radioactive material by rail contained in the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) international agreement, ST1, by 1 January 2002.
3 That the Board notes the implementation date and agrees the project plan.
4 DETR (Radioactive Material Transport Division (RMTD)) is the Competent Authority for the transport of radioactive material in Great Britain, by all modes of transport. HSE is responsible for policy and enforcement concerning carriage by rail. The relevant regulations are the Packaging, Carriage and Labelling of Radioactive material by Rail Regulations 1996.
5 The IAEA agreement forms the basis of the rules governing the safe transport of class 7 dangerous goods (radioactive material) by all modes of transport. These rules are adopted by UN, ADR1 and RID2 committees
of experts and subsequently included in their agreements for the various modes of transport. The ADR and RID agreements become annexes to the Council Directives on carriage of dangerous goods by road and rail3 when
they are adopted by a technical committee of the European Commission. The agreement is revised every two years.
6 The end result of the process for us is a two yearly cycle of updates to domestic regulations for carriage of dangerous goods by rail.
7 HSE has responsibility for transposing the directives into domestic legislation although DETR is the Competent Authority for international transport (and domestic road transport in the case of class 7 goods) and
also leads in negotiations at meetings of the various modal committees. The air and sea modes tend to support early implementation of new requirements partly because their respective agreements are easily assimilated into law by reference to those agreements.
8 HSE normally brings in the requirements for all classes of dangerous goods in a single package involving a single consultation exercise, as set out in B/00/170. However, the TRANNSAC4 committee raised a safety
issue with regard to class 7 (radioactive material) requirements at the ADR /RID joint meeting in June and secured an agreement that the requirements for carriage of radioactive material by road and rail would be brought in a year earlier than for other classes, i.e. by 1 July 2001 with a six month transitional period to 31 December 2001. HSE was not represented on the TRANNSAC committee.
9 Implementing the class 7 requirements a year earlier than the other classes of dangerous goods will mean two consultation exercises, within a short time of each other, with the consequent diversion of resources from other equally important work on implementing the requirements for the other eight classes of dangerous goods.
10 FOD (HMRI), NSD, and HD have been made aware of the situation and accept the need for earlier implementation.
11 DETR Ministers are keen that Directives are implemented on time.
Costs and Benefits
12 Some benefits may accrue to those companies who are involved solely with transport of class 7 goods. For others, there will be difficulties as the texts of ADR and RID will not be published until near the implementation date. Costs will increase if we don’t implement on time. A full RIA will be prepared, examining these issues in more detail.
Financial/Resource Implications for HSE
13 Earlier implementation of the class 7 requirements will mean diverting resources from the major project to restructure carriage of dangerous goods legislation (B/00/170 refers).(See also paragraph 9 of this paper.)
14 Compliance with the packaging and labeling requirements is one way to to prevent accidents that could result in damage to the environment.
15 There are none
16 The legislative regime applies across Great Britain
17 The Board is requested to note the implementation date and agree the project plan
1 International agreement on carriage of dangerous goods by road
2 International agreement on carriage of dangerous goods by rail
3 Council Directives 94/55/EC and 96/49/EC on the approximation of the laws of the member states with regard to the transport of dangerous goods by road and rail, respectively.
4 A transport safety subcommittee of the Advisory Committee on Safety Standards of International Atomic Energy Agency.
New requirements for carriage of radioactive material by rail (project to restructure legislation)
Project start date: July 2000
Date last updated: September 2000
To replace the Packaging, Labelling and Carriage of Radioactive Material by Rail Regulations 1996 and the Approved Requirements for the Packaging, Labelling and Carriage of Radioactive Material by rail by a new
restructured model incorporating the amendments for class 7 dangerous goods (i.e. radioactive materials) in the second amendment to the RID Directive1.
Produce a more user friendly framework for carriage of radioactive material by rail.
The first step in a major project to design and bring forward a restructured form of UK legislation to replace the current set of statutory instruments and approved documents
Consult stakeholders and take account of the views of duty holders and colleagues in HSE and DETR/RMTD and to reach a consensus
Initial - Submission of proposals for a consultation exercise on the proposed new model.
Intermediate - A consultation exercise
Final - A first step in more user friendly legislation for carriage of dangerous goods by road and rail and implementation of the Directive
The next set of amendments to the RID Directive had originally been planned to come fully into force on 1 January 2003. However, the TRANNSAC2 committee raised a safety issue with regard to class 7 requirements at the ADR 3 /RID joint meeting in June and secured an agreement that the requirements for carriage of radioactive material by road and rail would be brought in a year early, i.e. by 1 July 2001 with a six month transitional period to 31 December 2001.
HSE had originally planned (Board paper B/00/170) to bring in all requirements in a single package by 1 Jan 2003.
Agreement of senior managers to the submission of proposals for a consultative document to HSC
Implementation of the directive within the planned time scale
An improved legislative framework in line with HSC and Government agendas for Revitalising Health and Safety and Modernising Government
The working group will have regular meetings to discuss progress. DETR/RMTD colleagues will be closely involved at all stages. (NOTE: RMTD/DETR is the Competent Authority for transport of radioactive material by all modes, i.e. by air, sea, road and rail).
There are some key risks that could jeopardise the project:
Objection by Speaker’s Counsel to our proposal of a general set of regulations setting out duties and referencing the international agreement (RID, in this case)
Inadequate staff resources could result in important deadlines being missed and could put the Government at risk of infraction proceedings.
Failure to secure industry agreement to the proposals, although unlikely, could put the project at risk
Project Leader : Jonathan Russell
Project Manager : Anne Morley (tel 0207 717 6354)
Band 0 1 week
Band 3 full time
Band 2 10 weeks
Band 5/4 10 weeks
Solicitors 7 weeks
EAU 2 weeks
DIAS 5 weeks
FOD(RI) Band 2 3 weeks
DST Band 2 4 weeks
NSD Band 1 4 weeks
HD Band 2 2 weeks
A timetable is attached at annex 2.
1 Council Directive 96/49/EC on the approximation of the laws of the member states with regard to the transport of dangerous goods by rail.
2 A transport safety subcommittee of the Advisory Committee on Safety Standards of International Atomic Energy Agency.
3 The international agreement on the transport of dangerous goods by road
TIMETABLE FOR CLASS 7 IMPLEMENTATION
Setting up of HSE/RMTD WG to participate in discussions on implementation of new requirements for carriage of radioactive material (class 7.dangerous goods ) by rail
Secure agreement on funds for research on new requirements.
Discussions with contractors on possibility of carrying out research work.
Meeting with RMTD
Preliminary discussions with solicitors
Contact DIAS to outline project
Arrangements for RID text to be put onto HSE web site
Consider RID text
inform advisory committees
liaise with consultant
decide on options for package
liaise with MOD and DTI
informal consultation with industry (jointly with RMTD)
Draft instructions to solicitor
Solicitors Office drafting regulations
Package to HSC
Adjustments to package, if necessary, following HSC mtg
Package to DIAS
Prepare press release
Set up structure to deal with comments
Consider what needs to go into guidance
Meet with industry if necessary
Co-ordinate responses and analyse
Adjustments following consultation
internal/RMTD discussion on outcome of consultation
Draft HSC paper
Final internal consultation
Final package to HSC
Regulations to DETR
Draft explanatory memorandum to accompany regulations
Draft press release
Regs made and laid before parliament