The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) - Office of Nuclear Energy (NE) has awarded ENSCO, Inc. a contract to fabricate and test a prototype 8-axle cask rail car for transporting spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste.
Once the prototype of the new "Fortis railcar" has been constructed, ENSCO will pursue conditional approval from the Association of American Railroads (AAR) Equipment Engineering Committee to begin to use the car for transporting radioactive material as soon as possible.
“Our team of scientists, engineers and partners will work together to construct a prototype vehicle and conduct all testing required to secure AAR approval for use of the vehicle to move radioactive materials safely and efficiently throughout the U.S.,” Stevens concluded,” said Jeff Stevens, President of ENSCO, Inc.
According to the DOE, commercial spent nuclear fuel is packaged in containers weighing approximately 80-210 tonnes, which exceeds the legal weight limits for transport by truck in the US. Thus, rail transport is the preferred mode of transporting containers to disposal and storage facilities across the country.
ENSCO will collaborate with Kasgro Rail Corporation, Oak Ridge Technologies, and RailcarCo Corporation to deliver the Fortis prototype rail vehicle and all necessary test equipment to DOE. The majority of the testing will take place at the Transportation Technology Center (TTC) in Pueblo, Colorado.