My initial thought is that scale model testing is like as good as full size testing so long as compounding impact of more nuclear fuel vs. the scaled amount is not a factor. I hope they also do random just got thrown off the truck, rolling down a hill kind of testing. The random rather than expected impacts are likely the most probable kind of accident.
Senior Project Manager
Division of Spent Fuel Storage and Transportation
Before casks can be used to transport the most radioactive cargo—including spent nuclear fuel—the NRC requires them to undergo a thorough safety evaluation. Casks are evaluated for their ability to withstand vibration, water spray, free fall, stacking, penetration and fire. A cask must be able to contain and shield the spent fuel and keep it in a safe configuration under both normal and accident conditions. Typically, spent fuel casks are certified through a combination of engineering analyses and scale model or component testing.
People often ask why the NRC allows designers to test scale models instead of requiring tests on full-sized casks. The bottom line is scale-model testing provides the necessary information for the NRC staff to know that a cask loaded with spent fuel can be transported safely, even in the event of an accident.
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