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Fun Fact Friday: Shipping Container Evaluations

By November 22, 2019No Comments3 min read

Encorus’s Structural Engineering department provides more than just structural designs. One of our many capabilities is shipping container evaluations. Our shipping container evaluations have been requested by both manufacturers and the end users. The typical contents of the shipping containers Encorus evaluated have been nuclear waste. This requires a robust ASME NQA-1 program to ensure safety. The containers can be fabricated from steel components and can be lined with reinforced concrete, lead, or other material. Container loads are not limited to just the weight of the container and its contents. Evaluations must take stacking loads and various impact loads into account. Minimum impact loads are dictated by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and involve impacts from projectiles while stationary, and container drops from a certain height. The intent of applying these extreme loads is to ensure the structural integrity of the container, therefore maximizing safety to the public.

Encorus has experience in evaluating industrial package (IP-1), 7A Type A, specialty, and shielded containers. Industrial Packages (IP) are sub-divided into three categories designated as IP-1, IP-2 and IP-3, which differ regarding the degree to which they are required to withstand routine and normal conditions of transport. The required tests simulate normal transport conditions such as a fall from a vehicle, exposure to rain, being struck by a sharp object, or having other cargo stacked on top. Packages used in industry such as steel drums or bins could meet these various requirements, but purpose-designed packages are also frequently used. The choice depends on the characteristics of the material. Some typical materials transported in industrial packages are low-level and intermediate-level radioactive waste, or ores containing naturally occurring radionuclides (e.g. uranium or thorium) and concentrates of such ores.

Type A packages are used for the transport of relatively small, but significant, quantities of radioactive material. Since it is assumed that this type of package theoretically could be damaged in a severe accident and that a portion of their contents may be released, the amount of radionuclides they can contain is limited by NRC regulations. In the event of a release, these limits ensure that the risks from external radiation or contamination are very low.

Type A packages are required to maintain their integrity during normal transport conditions and therefore are subjected to tests simulating these conditions. Type A packages are used to transport radioisotopes for medical diagnosis or teletherapy, technetium, generators used to assist in the diagnosis of certain cancers, and also for some nuclear fuel cycle materials.

If you require shipping container evaluations, please reach out to our Senior Structural Engineer, Dan Sarata, at (716) 592-3980 ext 138, or at

Photo credit: SECUR LLC