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Radioactive Material (Transportation)

Volume 24: debated on Wednesday 26 May 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for Transport (1) whether, and with what results, tests have been made of the effect of a rail collision at 50 miles per hour involving flasks carrying nuclear waste;(2) if he will describe the categories of radioactive material permitted to be transported in flasks by rail; what categories may not be carried; what are the maximum levels of radioactivity permitted in respect of the contents of each flask; and what inspection machinery exists to ensure that safety limits are not exceeded;(3) what would be the maximum amount of radioactive contamination that could occur if a sealed flask of the kind carried by rail, and containing the maximum permitted amount of nuclear waste were fractured; what would be the maximum area of contamination; and at what levels.

The flasks used to transport irradiated nuclear fuel are designed, tested and certified in accordance with the International Atomic Energy Agency regulations for the safe transport of radioactive materials. The regulatory tests are not intended to simulate any particular accident scenario but to ensure that the flasks would withstand damage of a kind which would result from a very severe accident.