Uranium Hexafluoride Transport - Current Issues
(last updated 18 Mar 2017)
(For uranium ore concentrate transport, see here)
272 uranium hexafluoride transports to and from Urenco's Gronau enrichment plant in 2016
According to the reply of the Northrhine Westphalia state government to a parliamentary question, 272 transports of UF6 (feed, product, or tails) took place in relations with Urenco's Gronau enrichment plant in 2016, 249 of them by road and 23 by rail.
(Westfälische Nachrichten Mar. 16, 2017)
> Download: Antwort der Landesregierung auf die Kleine Anfrage 5582 vom 8. Februar 2017 des Abgeordneten Hanns-Jörg Rohwedder PIRATEN, Drucksache 16/14215, Atomtransporte von und nach Gronau 2016, Drucksache 16/14466, 10.03.2017 (324kB PDF - in German)
German government discloses export licenses issued in 2011 - 2015 for enriched uranium from Urenco's Gronau enrichment plant
Between 2011 and early 2016, 231 export licenses have been issued for enriched uranium from Urenco's Gronau enrichment plant.
> Download: Antwort der Bundesregierung auf die Kleine Anfrage der Abgeordneten Hubertus Zdebel, Caren Lay, Eva Bulling-Schröter, weiterer Abgeordneter und der Fraktion DIE LINKE. - Drucksache 18/8453 - Urananreicherung in Gronau – Ausfuhren, radioaktive Abfälle und Verkauf der URENCO , Deutscher Bundestag, Drucksache 18/8582, 30.05.2016 (228 kB PDF)
State discloses list of uranium hexafluoride transports to and from Urenco's Gronau enrichment plant in 2015
> Antwort der Landesregierung auf die Kleine Anfrage 4423 vom 29. Januar 2016 des Abgeordneten Hanns-Jörg Rohwedder PIRATEN, Drucksache 16/11012, Atomtransporte von und nach Gronau 2015 sowie bevorstehende Einlagerungen in der neuen Uranoxid-Lagerhalle , Landtag Nordrhein-Westfalen, Drucksache 16/11283, 29.02.2016 (290k PDF - in German)
> See also Urenco's Gronau enrichment plant
Dutch regulator issues odd license for transport of uranium hexafluoride feed and tails between Urenco's Gronau plant in Germany and its Almelo plant in the Netherlands - additional traffic to be caused for re-enrichment of depleted uranium?
> View here
German government discloses comprehensive nuclear material transport statistics
> View here
189 uranium hexafluoride transports to and from Urenco's Gronau enrichment plant in 2014
According to the reply of the Northrhine Westphalia state government to a parliamentary question, 189 transports of UF6 (feed, product, or tails) took place in relations with Urenco's Gronau enrichment plant in 2014, 177 of them by road and 12 by rail. Inspections showed no irregularities of the transports.
(Westfälische Nachrichten Apr. 1, 2015)
> Download: Antwort der Landesregierung auf Kleine Anfrage: Atomtransporte von und nach Gronau in 2014 sowie drohende Inbetriebnahme der neuen Uranoxid-Lagerhalle, Drucksache 16/8250, 26.03.2015 (3.3MB PDF - in German)
> Download Export Application XSOU8838, Mar. 2, 2015 (PDF)
> Download Export Licence XSOU8838, Oct. 23, 2015 (PDF)
Protests in ten German cities against uranium transports on Hapag Lloyd ships
On Feb. 7, 2015, Robin Wood and local groups held protests in ten German cities against the transport of uranium ore concentrate and uranium hexafluoride on ships run by Hapag Lloyd. Every three weeks, Hapag Lloyd container ships Montreal Express and Toronto Express bring radioactive materials, such as uranium ore concentrate and uranium hexafluoride to the Hamburg port. The materials are then transported by truck or rail to plants performing further processing into nuclear fuel.
(Robin Wood Feb. 7, 2015)
"Uranium hexafluoride shipped from the Honeywell Metropolis plant to Russia will be enriched at the Russian enrichment complex (Techsnabexport), sent to a U.S. or European fabricator for manufacturing into fuel rods, shipped back to the commercial U.S. or European power plants for use."
> Download Export Application XSOU8837, Feb. 3, 2015
> Download Export Licence XSOU8837, Aug. 26, 2015
Transports of enriched uranium hexafluoride (UF6) across the state of Rheinland-Pfalz on the increase (Germany)
According to the answer of the Rheinland-Pfalz state government to a parliamentary question, the number of transports of enriched uranium hexafluoride (UF6) across the state (located in the southwest of Germany) increased from 20 in 2012 to 27 in 2013 and 34 in 2014 (to date). All of them were road transports.
> Download: Uranhexafluorid-Transporte durch Rheinland-Pfalz, Landtag Rheinland-Pfalz, Drucksache 16/4212, 10. 11. 2014 (709k PDF - in German)
Independent radiation laboratory CRIIRAD releases report on nuclear transports in the Rhône-Alpes region (France)
> View here
Uranium hexafluoride will be enriched at CNNC (China National Nuclear Corporation) Lanzhou enrichment corporation (Lanzhou, Gansu province, China) and processed for consumption in commercial nuclear power stations owned or operated by ConverDyn's utility customers in China, North America or Europe.
> Download Export Application XSOU8836, Oct. 28, 2014
> Download updated Export Application XSOU8836, Feb. 3, 2015
Areva fails to perform inspections of lifting lugs of 48Y transport cylinders for uranium hexafluoride (France)
> View here
Faulty welds detected at lifting lugs of a batch of 48Y transport cylinders for uranium hexafluoride (France)
> View here
German government discloses comprehensive nuclear material transport statistics
> View here
Stena Line ferries from Trelleborg (Sweden) to Rostock (Germany) are carrying dangerous and radioactive goods without the passengers knowing.
It is the magazine Filter which reports on the transports. The newspaper has made an examination of the radioactive cargo carried to and from Sweden and it shows that Stena Line transported uranium hexaflouride on the route Rostock-Trelleborg at various times. The substance is volatile and is described as dangerous. When it comes in contact with water or humidity, it is converted to hydrogen fluoride which is highly toxic.
The transport of uranium hexafluoride on the ships between Trelleborg and Rostock is increasing. Throughout the last year 56 tonnes were shipped. In January this year alone there have been about 57 tonnes.
(SVT Mar. 20, 2014)
The uranium hexafluoride is transported from various European countries (in particular from Urenco's Gronau enrichment plant in Germany) and Russia to the Westinghouse Västerås nuclear fuel manufacturing plant. The other Baltic Sea ferry companies TT-Line, Viking und Tallink declared on request to refuse any such transports.
(taz Mar. 25, 2014)
Stena Line informed journalists on request that the uranium hexafluoride transports are under review and likely won't continue in 2015. (NDR Aug. 18, 2014)
Since the beginning of the year 2015, uranium hexafluoride is no longer transported between Rostock and Trelleborg on passenger ferries of Stena Line.
(NDR 6 Jan 2015)
State Government discloses latest uranium hexafluoride transport statistics from/to Urenco's Gronau enrichment plant (Germany)
> View here
> Download Export Licence Application, Feb. 4, 2014 (660k PDF - ADAMS Acc. No. ML14037A447)
> Download Export Licence No. XSOU8832, Oct. 27, 2014 (91k PDF - ADAMS Acc. No. ML14301A009)
Protest against return of vessel Atlantic Cartier to Hamburg port
Activists greeted the vessel Atlantic Cartier with protests on Aug. 25, when it arrived in the Hamburg port for the first time after a fire broke out on board on May 1, 2013 (see details). They attached a banner at the side of the ship showing the text "Atomtransporte brandgefährlich" (nuclear transports highly dangerous / fire risk - a play on words).
(taz Aug. 25, 2013)
State Government discloses uranium hexafluoride transport statistics from/to Urenco's Gronau enrichment plant (Germany)
> View here
U.S. NRC seeks public comment on proposed rule for packaging and transporting radioactive materials
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), in consultation
with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), is proposing to amend
its regulations for the packaging and transportation of radioactive
material. These amendments would make NRC regulations conform to
revisions to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) regulations
for the international transportation of radioactive material and
maintain consistency with DOT regulations.
Submit comments by July 30, 2013.
> Download NRC release May 15, 2013
> Federal Register Volume 78, Number 95 (Thursday, May 16, 2013) (download full text )
> Access Docket ID NRC-2008-0198
U.S. NRC blackens major portions of export license for uranium hexafluoride
> View here
Activists stop train carrying depleted uranium hexafluoride from Gronau (Germany) to France for deconversion
> View here
State parliament passes legislation prohibiting transports of nuclear fuel materials through Bremen's ports
On Jan. 25, 2012, the Bremen state parliament (Bürgerschaft) passed legislation in a 57 - 20 vote prohibiting transports of nuclear fuel materials (including uranium hexafluoride) through the Bremen and Bremerhaven ports.
(Kreiszeitung Jan. 26, 2012)
A study commissioned by the Green group in the German parliament for the first time presents an overview of nuclear transports across Germany, in particular on transports of uranium hexafluoride, which are among those transports presenting the most serious hazards. Due to the continuing capacity increase of Urenco's Gronau enrichment plant, the number of uranium hexafluoride transports is expected to increase, in spite of Germany's nuclear phase out policy.
> Download Studie zu Transporten radioaktiver Stoffe in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland , Wolfgang Neumann, Intac GmbH, Sep. 2011 (924k PDF - in German)
On Mar. 8, 2010 at 11:00 h, police stopped a tractor-trailer transporting a uranium hexafluoride cylinder on the A1 motorway in Bremen. The cylinder was mounted on a flat rack with essential components rusted through. The police ordered the flat rack to be replaced, before the transport would be allowed to continue. The cylinder had arrived in the Hamburg port from the USA and was on the way to Urenco's Gronau enrichment plant.
(Pressestelle Polizei Bremen Mar. 8, 2010)
After a parliamentary question (Drucksache 14/4880) revealed that 167 road transports of uranium hexafluoride passed through the state of Baden-Württemberg during the last two years, Green Party State Parliament MP Franz Untersteller demanded on Aug. 7, 2009, the shifting of the transports from road to rail.
On May 12, 2007, activists held a symbolic track blockade at the railway station of Perl at the French/German border. They protested against the regular rail transports of uranium hexafluoride from Comurhex's Pierrelatte conversion plant to Urenco's Gronau enrichment plant.
(Anti Atom Heidelberg May 14, 2007)
"An investigation of the 48-inch diameter cylinder behavior in the regulatory fire test was performed to determine the survivability of the 48-inch diameter cylinders in the hypothetical fire. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations incorporate the thermal test requirement of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)'s regulation, TS-R-1. The regulations stipulate that the cylinders must survive 30 minutes in an 800°C fire. Historically, the 48-inch diameter cylinders transporting natural or depleted uranium have been shipped without any protective overpack. The task is to determine whether any or all of the 48-inch cylinders with full capacity meet the IAEA thermal requirement. This study used a simulated numerical model that was constructed with Tenerife research project's experimental data relevant to the 48-inch diameter cylinders. The Tenerife UF6 cylinder test data is, by far, the best data available on the behavior of the 48-inch diameter UF6 cylinder during the IAEA fire test condition. The observation of Tenerife data and the result of this numerical model indicate that,
- There is no cylinder rupture by hydraulic pressure for all 48-inch diameter
cylinders in 30 minutes
- There is no cylinder rupture by vapor pressure for thick wall 48-inch
- Thin wall cylinder may rupture within 30 minutes by hoop stress failure at
the top of cylinder where the temperature is the highest."
Investigation of 48-inch Diameter UF6 Cylinders in the TS-R-1 Regulatory Thermal Environment, by Shin H. Park, November 2004 (ADAMS Accession No.: ML051050423 )
A train carrying uranium hexafluoride from the Pierrelatte conversion plant (France) to the Gronau enrichment plant (Germany), triggered the radiation detector of a scrap merchant during a stopover of the train in Trier (Germany). The radiation detector meant to test incoming scrap metal for radiation was triggered off by the train waiting on the nearby rail track.
(Trierischer Volksfreund, June 30, 2006)
Based on concerns regarding the ANSI compliance of its inspection and preparation procedures related to the valve assembly of UF6 cylinders, Urenco has agreed with the US Department of Transport (DOT) that shipment of any affected cylinders to the US would be deferred until positive confirmation has been received.
(Urenco Mar. 15, 2005)
On Feb. 22, 2005, problems with valves at new UF6 cylinders provided by Urenco had been detected at the Honeywell Metropolis conversion plant, Illinois.
Protests against DU transport from France to Russia
> View here
Protests against DU transport from Almelo, Netherlands, to Russia
> View here
Protests against DU transport from Gronau, Germany, to Russia
> View here
Federal Register: September 23, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 184) p. 57133-57134 (download full text )
> Download USEC application: DOT document RSPA-... (coming soon)
The exemption concerns the transport of cylinders containing depleted uranium hexafluoride (DUF6) from Oak Ridge (Tennessee) to Piketon (Ohio), where the DUF6 is to be converted to a more stable chemical form in a planned conversion plant. According to regulatory changes in 49 CFR 173.420(a)(3)-(5) coming into effect on October 1, 2004, DOE will not be able to transport the cylinders in the same way as practiced before that date.
The proposed exemption is for approx. 2831 cylinders exceeding the 62% specified volumetric capacity, and approx. 700 compliant cylinders, for which possibly no overpacks will be available in time.
Federal Register: August 27, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 166) p. 52746-52747 (download full text )
> Download DOE application:
DOT Document RSPA-2004-18889-1
> See also: U.S. DOE Depleted Uranium Hexafluoride Conversion Facilities project
> View details
> See also NRC's interactive rulemaking website: 2002
> Background documents available through ADAMS
NRC issues Final Rule
On Nov. 20, 2003, NRC approved "SECY-03-0141 - Final Rule to Revise 10 CFR Part 71 to Be Compatible with IAEA Transportation Safety Standards [TS-R-1]"
Federal Register: January 26, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 16)]
p. 3697-3746 · p. 3747-3796 · p. 3797-3814
NRC publishes revised Proposed Rule
Federal Register: April 30, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 83), Page 21389-21484
(download full text ):
10 CFR Part 71
Compatibility With IAEA Transportation Safety Standards (TS-R-1) and
Other Transportation Safety Amendments; Proposed Rule
> See also:
Federal Register: April 30, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 83), Page 21327-21388 (download full text ):
49 CFR Part 171, et. al.
Hazardous Materials Regulations; Compatibility with the Regulations of
the International Atomic Energy Agency; Proposed Rule
NRC plans to publish revised Proposed Rule
> See SECY-01-0035 (March 2, 2001)
The revised proposed rule text can be found in the attachments.
> See also: Transcripts of NRC Briefing on 10 CFR Part 71 Rulemaking (April 9, 2001)
NRC publishes Proposed Rule
Federal Register: July 17, 2000 (Vol. 65, No. 137) p. 44359-44397 (download full notice ):
Major Revision to 10 CFR Part 71: Compatibility With ST-1 -- The IAEA
Transportation Safety Standards -- And Other Transportation Safety
Issues, Issues Paper, and Notice of Public Meetings; Proposed Rule
"SUMMARY: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering a
rulemaking that would revise the Commission's regulations on packaging
and transporting radioactive material to make it compatible with the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) transportation safety
standards as well as codify other requirements. The NRC is seeking
early public input on the major issues associated with such a
rulemaking. To aid in that process, the NRC is requesting comments on
the issues paper included in this notice." [...]
"NRC also intends to conduct three public meetings in August and September of this year to discuss those issues and solicit public comments."
Comments had to be submitted by September 30, 2000.
"Issue 4. Uranium Hexafluoride Package Requirements
ST-1 introduces detailed requirements for uranium hexaflouride
(UF6) packages designed for more than 0.1 kg UF6.
NRC certifies Type B and fissile (i.e., enriched uranium)
UF6 packages under 10 CFR Part 71. Although most of these
issues are under DOT in 49 CFR Part 173, the new ST-1 provisions
relevant to 10 CFR Part 71 are summarized as follows (see Appendix A
for a listing of the specific ST-1 provisions):
Para 629: Packages shall be packaged and transported in accordance with
an international standard, ISO 7195, ''Packaging of Uranium
Hexafluoride (UF6) for Transport.'' ST-1 also allows [para
632(a)] for use of equivalent national standards (e.g., ANSI N14.1);
provided that approval by all countries involved in the shipment is
obtained (i.e., multilateral approval).
Para 630: ST-1 requires that packages must withstand: (a) A minimum
internal pressure test to 2.8 MPa (1.4 MPa for multilateral approval),
(b) the ''normal conditions of transport'' drop test, and (c) the
hypothetical accident condition thermal test (except that packages
containing grater than 9000 kg are exempt from this test if given
Para 631: ST-1 prohibits packages from utilizing pressure relief
Para 677(b): ST-1 includes an exception that allows UF6
packages to be evaluated for criticality without considering the in-
leakage of water into the containment system. This provision means that
a single fissile UF6 package does not have to be subcritical
assuming that water leaks into the containment system. This provision
only applies when there is no physical contact of the cylinder valve to
any other component of the packaging after the hypothetical accident
tests, the valve remains leak-tight, and when there is a high degree of
quality control in the manufacture, maintenance, and repair of
packaging coupled with tests to demonstrate closure of each package
before each shipment.
Factors for Consideration
- NRC practice has been to certify fissile UF6
packages (including the cylinder which is the containment vessel and a
protective overpack) that are shown to be leaktight when subject to the
hypothetical accident tests and to specify that the cylinder meets ANSI
N14.1 (ANSI N14.1 has the domestic pressure test requirement in 630(a),
not the regulations). For this reason, it is believed that NRC-
certified UF6 packages already comply with the above package
performance requirements (para 630 and 677(b)). However, these changes
appear to have significant ramifications for non-fissile UF6
packaging that are under the purview of DOT.
- NRC practice has been to reference the ANSI N14.1 standard
in the certification, but not to reference the standard in the rule.
Although the ISO-7195-2000 standard (in draft) has been drafted taking
into account ANSI N14.1, a detailed confirmation of the compatibility
of the two standards has not been performed. NRC has representation on
the ANSI N14.1 revision panel."
> View details (Dec. 2, 1999)
Federal Government of Germany releases extensive data on nuclear transports in 2013 (and past decades):
Antwort der Bundesregierung auf die Kleine Anfrage der Abgeordneten Sylvia Kotting-Uhl, Annalena Baerbock, Bärbel Höhn, weiterer Abgeordneter und der Fraktion BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN - Drucksache 18/418 - Atomtransporte, Deutscher Bundestag, Drucksache 18/552, 18.02.2014, 1062 pages: Download (4.6MB PDF)
In answers to parliamentary questions, the State Government of Hamburg disclosed more details on nuclear transports (including UF6 transports) through the city and port of Hamburg:
Bürgerschaft der Freien und Hansestadt Hamburg, Drucksachen (download here ):
19/4535 (Nov. 5, 2009)
19/5356 (Feb. 11, 2010),
19/6176 (May 12, 2010),
19/6972 (Aug. 11, 2010),
19/7705 (Nov. 2, 2010)
20/1354 (Aug. 24, 2011),
20/2843 (Jan. 12, 2012),
20/3680 (Mar. 29, 2012),
20/4783 (Jul. 30, 2012),
20/5752 (Nov. 5, 2012)
20/6819 (Feb. 6, 2013)
Federal Government of Germany releases extensive data on nuclear transports of past decades:
Antwort der Bundesregierung auf die Kleine Anfrage der Abgeordneten Sylvia Kotting-Uhl, Hans-Josef Fell, Bärbel Höhn, weiterer Abgeordneter und der Fraktion BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN - Drucksache 17/11730 - Atomtransporte, Deutscher Bundestag, Drucksache 17/11926, 17.12.2012, 1129 pages: Download (4.1MB PDF - in German)
In an answer to a parliamentary question, the State Government of Bremen disclosed details on nuclear transports (including UF6 transports) through the city and port of Bremen/Bremerhaven from 2004 to 2008.
Mitteilung des Senats an die Bremische Bürgerschaft (Landtag) vom 27. Oktober 2009 "Atomtransporte durch das Land Bremen" (Große Anfrage der Fraktion DIE LINKE), Drucksache 17/973, 27.10.2009:
Download (751k PDF)
In an answer to a parliamentary question, the State Government of Hamburg disclosed more details on nuclear transports (including UF6 transports) through the city and port of Hamburg from mid-August 2009 to September 2009.
Bürgerschaft der Freien und Hansestadt Hamburg, Drucksache 19/4232 vom 09.10.2009, Wie viele Atomtransporte gehen tatsächlich durch Hamburg?, Schriftliche Kleine Anfrage der Abgeordneten Dora Heyenn und Christiane Schneider (Fraktion DIE LINKE) vom 02.10.2009 und Antwort des Senats: Download (220k PDF)
In an answer to a parliamentary question, the State Government of Hamburg disclosed more details on nuclear transports (including UF6 transports) through the city and port of Hamburg from May 2004 to mid-August 2009. In 2009, the number of transports so far has increased to 93 (from 77 in the same period of 2008), the transports pass homes at distances as low as 30 metres, and the nuclear materials are intermediately stored in Hamburg.
Bürgerschaft der Freien und Hansestadt Hamburg, Drucksache 19/3835 vom 11.09.2009, Atom-Transporte durch den Hamburger Hafen und das Hamburger Stadtgebiet (II), Große Anfrage der Abgeordneten Dora Heyenn, u.a. (Fraktion DIE LINKE) vom 14.08.2009 und Antwort des Senats:
Download (4.87MB PDF)
In an answer to a parliamentary question, the State Government of Hamburg disclosed all nuclear transports (including UF6 transports) through the Hamburg port from May 2004 to April 2009:
Bürgerschaft der Freien und Hansestadt Hamburg, Drucksache 19/3011 vom 02.06.09,
Atom-Transporte durch den Hamburger Hafen und das Hamburger Stadtgebiet,
Große Anfrage der Abgeordneten Dora Heyenn, u.a. (Fraktion DIE LINKE) vom 05.05.09 und Antwort des Senats: Download (6.4MB PDF)
In an answer to a parliamentary question, the State Government of Bremen disclosed all nuclear transports (including UF6 transports) through the ports of Bremen in 2001:
Bremische Bürgerschaft, Landtag, Drucksache 15/1081, Transport radioaktiver Stoffe, Kleine Anfrage der Fraktion Bündnis 90 / DIE GRÜNEN vom 07.02.2002 und Antwort des Senats vom 26.2.2002: Download (300k PDF)
In an answer to a parliamentary question, the Federal Government of Germany has included a table showing details and transport routes of all UF6 transports in Germany from 1996 to 1998:
Deutscher Bundestag, Drucksache 14/593, 23.03.99, Antwort der Bundesregierung auf die Kleine Anfrage der Abgeordneten Eva-Maria Bulling-Schröter, Angela Marquardt, Dr. Gregor Gysi und der Fraktion der PDS - Drucksache 14/435 - Transporte von Uranhexafluorid: Download (160k, PDF-format)
The answer to a follow-up question contains the data for 1999 and 2000, with less details, however. See also: DU exports of Urenco's Gronau enrichment facility disclosed (Germany):
Deutscher Bundestag, Drucksache 14/6692, 16.07.2001, Antwort der Bundesregierung auf die Kleine Anfrage der Abgeordneten Eva-Maria Bulling-Schröter und der Fraktion der PDS - Drucksache 14/6254 - Transporte und Lagerung von Uranhexafluorid in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland: Download (680k, PDF-format)
A uranium hexafluoride cylinder of the 48Y type ruptured at a
temperature of 650 degrees C and a pressure of 52 bar in a burst
test conducted on December 9, 1997, in France. The test was done
by the Nuclear Protection and Safety Institute (IPSN ).
It was the first test in a research program. At the end of the
program, IPSN will be able to judge whether thermal protection
caps should be added to current 48Y cylinders to bring them into
compliance with the new fire-resistance recommendations of the
IAEA issued in 1996. (NuclearFuel, Jan. 12, 1998)
Four uranium hexafluoride cylinders fell out of container when unloading from vessel Atlantic Companion in Halifax (Nova Scotia)
Firefighters responded to a possible radiation leak aboard a ship at the port of Halifax on Thursday (Mar. 13) night, but later determined there was no leak of radioactive material.
The Halifax regional fire department says there were no injuries and no one was contaminated at the Ceres terminal in Fairview Cove in the city's north end.
A city news release says firefighters received a call shortly before 10 p.m. after four steel cylinders fell about six metres from inside a container at the terminal, landing in a contained area of the ship.
It says the cylinders contained uranium hexafluoride, which is the chemical compound used in the gas centrifuge process to enrich uranium that is then used as reactor fuel or to arm nuclear missiles.
Initially, division commander Corey Beals said the department thought it was dealing with "some sort of radiological leak" but he couldn't provide any further details.
About 90 minutes later, the department said there wasn't a leak.
The city said fire officials conducted tests about six metres from the container and found radioactive levels were three to four times normal background levels, but it gave no explanation for those levels and a city spokesman couldn't be reached for comment. Firefighters evacuated the immediate area as a safety precaution.
"There is no indication anything leaked from the cylinders," the city said in its news release.
(The Montreal Gazette Mar. 14, 2014)
A shipping container holding four containers of the radioactive material uranium hexafluoride fell approximately six metres onto the Swedish-built Atlantic Companion. The ship is owned by the Atlantic Container Line (ACL).
At the press conference, officials were unclear whether [the] entire container had fallen or whether the bottom had fallen out dropping the four cylinders of uranium hexafluoride onto the ship.
The cylinders had been loaded onto the ship in Liverpool, England and once off loaded in Halifax are expected to be put onto trucks and delivered to South Carolina, Halifax Fire and Emergency Executive Fire Officer Phil McNulty said.
The fall was due to a mechanical failure, said Cerescorp senior vice-president of operations Calvin Whidden.
The container was one of more than 300 scheduled to be taken off the ship in Halifax, he said.
Dropping a container at the terminal is rare. It happens less than once a year, Whidden said.
But, this isn't the first time a container of uranium hexafluoride has been dropped in Halifax.
In July 1999, a very similar accident happened at Halterm in Halifax's south end when a container dropped onto another ACL ship, the Atlantic Conveyor.
(The Chronicle Herald Mar. 14, 2014)
[Four cylinders in one 20-Foot sea container: these must have been Type 30B cylinders filled with enriched UF6, on the way from Urenco's Capenhurst enrichment plant to Westinghouse's Columbia nuclear fuel facility. So, there was not only the hazard from an UF6 release, but also a criticality hazard, had the cylinders fallen from greater heights and hit one another.]
Fire on board a truck hauling uranium hexafluoride from Canada to the U.S.: Nuclear regulators were never notified
Late on the night of Aug. 22, 2013, Brian and Alexis Hanson found themselves on the busy I-75 highway near Troy, Ohio in a flaming truck with a radioactive cargo.
The story has a safe ending, thanks to Brian Hanson's fast action [he uncoupled the burning tractor from the trailer carrying the UF6 cylinder].
But, despite the fiery emergency, nuclear regulators in Canada – where the cargo originated – and in the U.S. were not informed of the incident.
In fact, there was no requirement for them to be notified [!].
The mishap underlines the gray areas surrounding the transportation of nuclear material.
(Toronto Star Oct. 31, 2013)
Nuclear freighter collides with yacht in Baltic Sea
A British sailing yacht collided in the early hours of Friday (Oct. 18) north of Rügen with the Russian cargo ship "Mikhail Lomonosov". The three crew members - two Brits and a Swede - were unharmed, as announced by the German Maritime Search and Rescue. Severe damage was incurred at the 15-meter sailing yacht.
The collision occurred 18 nautical miles (approximately 33 kilometers) north of Glowe. The cause of the accident is not yet known.
Environmental organizations assume that radioactive material was on board of the Mikhail Lomonosov. The ship regularly transports radioactive materials such as uranium hexafluoride and uranium dioxide from Russia. They request information about what cargo the ship had loaded.
(Schweriner Volkszeitung Oct. 20, 2013)
Authorities have confirmed that the cargo ship had uranium pellets and uranium hexafluoride on board. The pellets were destined for Areva's Lingen nuclear fuel plant. The destination of the uranium hexafluoride remained unknown.
(NDR Oct. 22, 2013)
According to the answer of the Hamburg state government to a parliamentary question, the cargo ship had 100 tonnes of radioactive material on board, 66 tonnes of which were uranium hexafluoride.
(NDR Oct. 30, 2013)
Fire broke out in the late evening of May 1, 2013, on the lower decks of the vessel Atlantic Cartier, while berthed in the Hamburg port (Germany). The fire destroyed some 12 new cars stored on the lower decks. Containers holding various hazardous materials were stored on deck and have been removed while the firefighting was ongoing. It took about 24 hours to extinguish the fire.
(Hamburger Abendblatt May 1, 2013; Feuerwehr-Magazin May 2, 2013)
As it is unknown, whether any of the containers held any nuclear fuel material, environmental groups demanded an explanation from the authorities. The vessel is known to carry uranium oxide, uranium hexafluoride and nuclear fuel on a regular basis. (Bundesverband Bürgerinitiativen Umweltschutz May 7, 2013)
According to the answer of the Hamburg Senat (state government), the Atlantic Cartier had 20 tonnes of radioactive material on board, 8.9 tonnes of which were uranium hexafluoride [this information was later corrected, see below]. Shortly before the start of the fire, an open air church service with 35,000 participants was held in the immediate vicinity as part of the German Lutheran church congress.
> Download: Schriftliche Kleine Anfrage des Abgeordneten Dr. Anjes Tjarks (GRÜNE) vom 06.05.13 und Antwort des Senats - Drucksache 20/7891 - Betr.: Brand auf der "Atlantic Cartier" (PDF)
> View Release of Green Parliamentary Party in Hamburg parliament , May 16, 2013 (in German)
On May 23, 2013, activists climbed a crane in the Hamburg port and unrolled banners against nuclear transports through the port.
(Robin Wood May 23, 2013)
On Aug. 2, 2013, the U.S. NRC released an export notification for a shipment that was to arrive at Hamburg on board Atlantic Cartier on April 27, 2013. The shipment comprised 4 cylinders of type 30B containing a total of 40 kg of UF6 heels from enriched UF6, sent from Areva Richland, WA, to Urenco Almelo in the Netherlands (heels are the highly radioactive residue remaining in the cylinder after unloading of the uranium hexafluoride).
> Download: Advance Notification of Export Shipment , RSB Logistic, March 14, 2013 (view second notification in this file, p.7-8 of PDF)
According to the reply of the Hamburg state government to a parliamentary question, the cylinders contained a total of 10.3 kg of UF6 heels. The 8.9 tonnes initially stated as UF6 contents were rather just the gross weight of the shipment.
> Download: Schriftliche Kleine Anfrage
des Abgeordneten Dr. Anjes Tjarks vom 21.05.2013 und Antwort des Senats - Drucksache 20/8053 -
Betr.: Brand auf der "Atlantic Cartier" - Informationspolitik (PDF)
1) Given the figures in the NRC export notification, it appears that the Hamburg state government erroneously communicated the contents of only one of the four cylinders.
2) So, there was no risk of a bursting cylinder leading to toxic concentrations of UO2F2 and HF in the area, as it might have existed with a UF6 cylinder exposed to a long lasting external fire. The heels with their strong gamma radiation might however been dispersed in the surrounding area in the case of a cylinder failure.
According to the reply of the Hamburg state government to a parliamentary question, the containers were trucked on May 6, 2013, to Urenco Nederland B.V. in Almelo, The Netherlands.
> Download: Schriftliche Kleine Anfrage
der Abgeordneten Dora Heyenn und Christiane Schneider (DIE LINKE) vom 21.05.2013
und Antwort des Senats - Drucksache 20/8078 - Betr.: Auch Uranhexafluorid & Munition unter den Gefahrstoffen auf der brennenden "Atlantic Cartier" - Nachfragen zur Drs. 20/7891 (PDF)
UF6 truck involved in accident near Trier, Germany
A convoi of three trucks carrying uranium hexafluoride was involved in an accident on the A 1 motorway at the Mehring exit near Trier (Rheinland Pfalz), when a car collided with one of the trucks. The truck remained undamaged.
(Trierischer Volksfreund Oct. 12, 2010)
UF6 truck overturns and catches fire in Summers County, West Virginia
At midnight, a tractor trailer truck overturned and caught fire on I-64 near Exit 139 at Sandstone, WV, which is in Summers County.
A container containing Uranium Hexafloride, was on the truck.
As a precaution, evacuations occurred both in Sandstone and Meadow Creek, WV.
Dispatchers say that the container was not breached.
Accordingly, evacuations for both Sandstone and Meadow Creek, WV were lifted sometime before 3:00 this morning.
The driver of the truck and a driver of an SUV that was also involved in the accident, were transported to Summers Appalachian Regional Hospital with unknown injuries.
(State Journal August 2, 2009)
The tractor-trailer carried a Model 48Y cylinder containing approximately 28,000 lbs [12.7 metric tonnes] of non-enriched Uranium Hexafluoride (UF6). The shipment originated from the Honeywell Metropolis Works facility in Metropolis IL, and was being transported to Portsmouth, VA for shipment to URENCO in the Netherlands. The cab of the tractor-trailer was involved in a fire that was subsequently extinguished. The fire had no affect on the UF6 cylinder which seperated from the trailer during the accident. A Honeywell team determined the cylinder sustained only minor cosmetic damage, limited to one bent lifting lug. Honeywell personnel verified that there was no visual indication of leakage, and radiation surveys confirmed that there was no contamination or leakage from the cylinder.
> Download NRC Preliminary Notification PNO-II-09-004, Aug. 3, 2009 (ADAMS Acc. No. ML092150853)
A tractor trailer carrying enriched uranium hexaflouride has been involved in a two-vehicle crash at Paducah. There was no spill of UF6.
The tractor trailer had just left the nation's only uranium enrichment plant located in area known as "West Paducah." It was carrying four containers holding a total of 5000 lbs of enriched uranium hexafluoride. The material was headed for the Port of Oakland in California to be shipped to an overseas customer. (AP Jan. 4 / Jan. 5, 2007)
On October 16, 2003, a truck carrying 4 cylinders (UX-30 design) of 5% enriched uranium in the form of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) swerved and left Highway 212 west of Broadus, Montana. The truck rolled over and came to rest on its side. Initial observations showed that the UF6 overpacks and trailer did not sustain any damage. No evidence of release of material has been observed. The material was imported through the Port of Seattle and was en route to Wilmington, North Carolina for processing.
The truck driver was injured but his injuries were not life threatening.
(Billings Gazette Oct. 17, 2003; NRC Morning Report Oct. 20, 2003)
On May 21, 2003, a British truck carrying UF6 crashed into a Polish truck carrying paraffin on A1 (Amsterdam-Hengelo) near Bathmen, The Netherlands. The UF6 truck was part of a convoy of 12 British trucks hauling uranium hexafluoride from Preston (England) to Urenco's enrichment plants in Almelo (The Netherlands) and Gronau (Germany). The British driver was injured. There was no leakage of UF6.
(De Twentsche Courant Tubantia May 21/22, 2003)
A little after 2 p.m. on April 10, 2003, five uranium hexafluoride waste cylinders were aboard a truck that wrecked on Interstate 40 in Roane County, Tennessee. No substance was released from the cylinders due to the crash. The uranium hexafluoride cylinders were being transported from the USEC Inc.-operated uranium enrichment facility in Paducah, Ky., to Global Nuclear Fuel's facility in Wilmington, N.C. The five cylinders in the crash were in overpacks, which is a requirement for certain types of uranium hexafluoride containers. (Oak Ridger April 11, 2003)
The accident involved UF6 cylinders that are 30 inches [76.2 cm] diameter X 7
feet [2.13 m] long and contain up to 2.5 short tons [2268 kg] solid UF6 at up to 4.95% U-235 and are known as 30B cylinders. (Jason Bolling, USEC Inc.)
"SUBJECT: TRAFFIC ACCIDENT INVOLVING URANIUM HEXAFLUORIDE CYLINDERS
At approximately 2:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time (CDT) on April 10, 2003, a Tri-State Motor
Transport tractor-trailer, carrying five 2 ½-ton cylinders of enriched uranium hexafluoride
overturned in the eastbound lanes of Interstate Highway 40, approximately 20 miles west of
Knoxville, Tennessee. The cylinders of uranium hexafluoride were in transit between the
Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, in Paducah, Kentucky and the Global Nuclear
Fuels-Americas, in Wilmington, North Carolina.
The accident did not result in any personal injuries, breach of any cylinders, or releases of
uranium hexafluoride. Two of the transportation overpacks, used to protect each of the
cylinders, were slightly damaged. [...]"
(NRC, PRELIMINARY NOTIFICATION OF EVENT OR UNUSUAL OCCURRENCE -- PNO-III-03-018, April 11, 2003)
A truck hauling two 10-ton uranium containers was damaged on June 9, 2000 when a car ran into it on Rt. 104 near Chillicothe, Ohio, about 35 miles south of Columbus.
The cylinders were empty except for residual amounts ("heels") of natural uranium. The cylinders belong to Canadian uranium miner Cameco, which sells uranium to USEC's Portsmouth enrichment plant at Piketon, Ohio, which in turn enriches the uranium for use as fuel. The cylinders had been emptied at the plant and were being shipped back to Ontario. About 9 miles north of Chillicothe, the southbound car went over the center line and struck the left front tire of the northbound truck, bounced off and hit the rear tandem axle of the truck's trailer. (The Columbus Dispatch June 10, 2000)
"Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant
On June 2, 1999, two rail cars carrying depleted uranium hexafluoride
(DUF6) cylinders onsite derailed while being moved several hundred yards
from the cascade tails withdrawal stations to a cool-down area. Three rail
cars were being pulled by a diesel track mobile unit. The track mobile unit
and the first car in the train did not derail. Each rail car was carrying
three 14-ton liquid DUF6 cylinders. Based on preliminary information, a
defective rail tie is believed to have caused the derailment of the two
rail cars. All the DUF6 cylinders remained in their rail car cradles. Plant
staff assessed the derailed rail cars to be horizontally tilted at a
6 degree angle. A center-of-gravity analysis that had been previously done
by the plant staff indicates that at a 34 degree horizontal tilt, the
cylinders could roll out of the rail car cradles. The plant activated its
Emergency Operations Center until it determined that the cylinders were in
a safe condition. The plant is conducting a root-cause analysis of the
incident. Region III is planning an inspection to review the incident." (U.S. NRC Weekly Information Report For the Week Ending June 11, 1999)
"On February 2, 1999, at approximately 4:30 p.m. (CST) a tractor-trailer
truck loaded with 25 empty uranium hexafluoride cylinders struck an overpass on Interstate 90/94 in Chicago, Illinois. As a result of the
impact, the tractor-trailer overturned, allowing seven of the cylinders
to break loose from the trailer onto the interstate." [...]
"The cylinders on this shipment had been emptied, cleaned, and
re-certified at the Siemens Power Corporation facility in Richland,
Washington. The cylinders were en route to Harvey, Illinois, for
connection to the Canadian National Railroad and eventual overseas
shipment to Germany.
The cylinders were all intact after the accident and precautionary
measurements taken by IDNS confirmed no release of radioactive material
had occurred." (U.S. NRC Preliminary Notification PNO-III-99-005 )
"On January 24, 1997, a flat bed trailer transporting four 2.5 ton solid
uranium hexafluoride cylinders in protective overpacks, was involved in
an accident on Interstate 80 in Scott County near Walcott, Iowa. The
accident occurred at approximately 7:00 a.m. CST during a snow and ice
storm. The truck was transporting the cylinders from the Portsmouth
Gaseous Diffusion Plant to Siemens Power Corporation in Richland,
Washington. All four uranium hexafluoride cylinders and their overpacks
remained intact and no injuries were reported." (U.S. NRC Preliminary Notification PNO-III-97-004 )