US NRC Spent Fuel Transportation Cask Response to a Tunnel Fire Scenario
In July 2001, a derailed train carrying hazardous materials caught fire in a railroad tunnel in Baltimore, Maryland, and burned for several days. Although an accidental fire of such duration during a used nuclear fuel shipment is unlikely, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission analyzed the performance of transportation containers under these conditions. The NRC "concluded that the transportation casks analyzed would withstand a fire with thermal conditions similar to those that existed in the Baltimore tunnel fire event. No release of radioactive materials would result from exposure of the casks analyzed to such an event." A preliminary version of the study was released in 2002; this final version was completed in August 2004.