Nuclear technology is certainly one of the most safety-sensitive fields of applications. Storage, transport and disposal of nuclear waste, such as radioactive spent fuel elements, call for the highest possible safety and dependability of the processes and materials used. For decades, nuclear casks made of spheroidal graphite cast iron have proved extremely successful as transport and storage containers for radioactive material, due to their excellent shielding and mechanical properties.
Since 1980, Gontermann-Peipers has played a key role in making nuclear technology safe. For forty years, Gontermann-Peipers has closely cooperated, with GNS Gesellschaft für Nuklear-Service mbH, one of the most experienced manufacturer and supplier of nuclear containers worldwide. This cooperation has been instrumental in the development of spheroidal cast iron nuclear containers. To date, GP has supplied several hundred casks for high-, medium- and low-radioactive waste and made a significant contribution to the safety of nuclear technology.
The safety requirements on nuclear containers are extremely high. For the development of these containers and their approval the most exacting national and international standards apply. The materials and designs of the containers are developed in comprehensive simulations and crash tests to ensure that the casks withstand even the most extreme impacts, including from accidents during transport, an airplane crash or projectiles.
Our spheroidal graphite cast iron nuclear containers are manufactured using a static casting process and specialist machining systems. During all stages of the manufacturing process, quality is assured and completely documented by highly qualified personnel in compliance with all applicable standards and regulations. Quality tests are performed in our accredited in-house test lab.
You may find further information on nuclear containers on the GNS website (Gesellschaft für Nuklearservice mbH). Images of the containers in the following column are provided by GNS.
Containers for high-activity nuclear waste
Spent fuel elements are transported and stored in large-volume containers, as CASTOR® casks, for example. These spheroidal graphite cast containers of up to 120 metric t weight and wall thicknesses of up to 600 mm present a great challenge for the manufacturer. Excellent metallurgical and casting know-how is essential to be able to understand and precisely control the highly complex casting and solidification processes involved and their influence on the properties of the ultimate product. Apart from GP, only very few foundries worldwide are able to manufacture spheroidal graphite cast iron containers of such large volumes.
Containers for low- and medium-active nuclear waste
Active nuclear waste arises during the operation, shutdown and dismantling of nuclear facilities, in Research & Development, medical applications and in certain fields of industry. This low- to medium-active nuclear waste, which comes in the form of contaminated packaging and cleaning material, protective clothes, tools or dismantled equipment, has to be securely shielded before it may be transported or stored.
For this purpose, spheroidal graphite cast iron containers of up to 8 t weight, as the MOSAIK® type container, for example, are used. The same quality and safety standards as for our high-activity nuclear containers apply: consistent quality checks along all stages of production, 100% quality assurance and complete documentation for each individual container produced. This guarantees that the containers are and will remain safe throughout their entire service.