New Developments in the Air Transport of Plutonium 780870
A new package for the air transport of plutonium has been developed in response to a United States Public Law which restricts the U.S. air transport of plutonium except for small medical devices. This new package, called PAT-1 for plutonium air transportable package model 1, is the result of the NRC-sponsored PARC (plutonium accident resistant container) project at Sandia Laboratories, Albuquerque.
The PAT-1 package is designed to meet or exceed new criteria specified in NUREG-0360. These include a severe test sequence of impact (>250 KTS) on an unyielding target, crush, puncture, slash, a large JP-4 fire for 1 hour, followed by water immersion, with stringent acceptance standards on plutonium release, nuclear shielding, and nuclear criticality.
The PAT-1 package design features a high energy absorption capability with high-level fire protection. It weighs approximately 227 kg (500 lb) when loaded with 2 kg PuO2, and can accommodate up to 25 watts thermal energy from the plutonium load.