Presentation and Paper for WM 2017. A key factor in evaluating the safety of rail shipments involving the transport of commercial spent nuclear fuel (SNF) is the development of transportation accident rates that are reflective of the unique characteristics associated with these train operations. Typical rail freight operations may involve consists of a hundred cars or more, which may pass through multiple rail yards for trains to be decoupled and reassembled. In contrast, trains carrying SNF are anticipated to be operated in consists of considerably fewer cars. Moreover, they could be operated in a dedicated fashion, thereby avoiding yard decoupling and reassembling activities in transiting from shipment origin to destination. This paper and presentation describes the methodology developed to estimate rail accident rates for future commercial SNF shipments and presents the corresponding results. The analysis utilizes the Federal Railroad Administration accident database, and takes into consideration accidents whose root causes are independent of the size of the consist, as well as those that are associated exclusively with yard activities.

Publication Date: 
March, 2017
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