Circular Logic

Last Friday I emailed the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) and asked:

Bruce Power has proposed shipping the steam generators with no additional container surrounding the units.
Is this a safe method of transport according to IAEA guidelines?

Strangely the response came back as a series of quotes from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission presentations saying they intended to follow IAEA guidelines. But that's not what I asked.

So I tried again in my response:

Thank you for your prompt reply. I have read the CNSC material and have been in touch with Marc Drolet (CNSC). I was hoping you could point me to the specific IAEA guideline on how we safely transport used steam generators over land and sea. I know the processing facility in Sweden is "new" (the Studsvik Web site doesn't say when this portion opened just that it was a "recent" addition) and I don't know if there is an international guideline established for the transportation of these bulky contaminated materials.

Whereas the Canadian, non-CNSC departments dug into their own regulations to find the next appropriate place to look, the IAEA just quoted media material from CNSC. How...odd.

Update: the regulations are outlined in IAEA publications 1384 (IAEA Safety Standards Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material 2009 Edition) and 1325 (IAEA Safety Standards Advisory Material for the IAEA Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material). These are PDF documents that can be downloaded and read.

These documents outline the tests that are required of Bruce Power to prove that a container is "safe." I still don't know what's in the container, so I'm not sure what tests are being performed; however, Pub. 1384, Table 14 defines the "Free drop distance for testing packages to normal conditions of transport" as "0.3m for packages greater than 15,000kg." Someone told me that one of the tests performed by Bruce Power included a 1-foot drop test. This height appears to be derived from the IAEA guidelines.

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