Nuclear Engineering ETDs

Publication Date



The storage, transportation, and disposal of radioactive waste has become a problem of immense proportions in the United States. This Thesis focuses on the transportation of defense transuranic (TRU) waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) repository near Carlsbad, New Mexico. The objective of the cask conceptual design was based on the following:

  • Taking into account the latest available data on TRU waste drum mass, investigate the possibility of increased drum capacity per shipment over the current design;
  • Present a new TRU cask design with increased drum capacity and the potential for transporting both Contact-handled (CH and Remote-handled (RH) TRU waste;
  • Perform thermal, shielding, criticality safety and radiation-induced thermal stress analysis for the cask in CH-TRU mode.

This thesis studies the feasibility of a maximum-capacity modular cask concept, by concentrating on CH-TRU waste transportation. Since CH-TRU waste makes up 98% of the total TRU inventory, and will be the first wasteform to head for the WIPP, the potential benefits of a CH-TRU-mode cask are more immediate.


Sandia National Laboratories

Document Type




Degree Name

Nuclear Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Nuclear Engineering

First Committee Member (Chair)

A. Sharif Heger

Second Committee Member

Gary W. Cooper

Third Committee Member

Robert D. Busch

Fourth Committee Member

Kenneth Golliher

Fifth Committee Member

Robert E. Glass