WASHINGTON, D.C.The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today issued a request for proposals for the fabrication and testing of a prototype eight-axle railcar to carry the nation’s spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. The heavy-duty, flat-deck railcar design known as “Fortis” received approval from the Association of American Railroads (AAR) to proceed to building and testing.

The proposal includes fabricating a prototype Fortis railcar, acquisition of instrumented wheelsets necessary to measure railcar performance, and conducting the railcar testing required by AAR Standard S-2043, Performance Specification for Trains Used to Carry High-Level Radioactive Material. The design for the Fortis railcar will be provided to the contractor by DOE, and the Fortis project will continue to receive technical support for fabrication and testing from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Development of the Fortis railcar is part of DOE’s overall effort to develop a robust transportation capability for future spent nuclear fuel and high level radioactive waste transport. Commercial spent nuclear fuel is packaged in containers that weigh between 80 tons and 210 tons. Weight limits for legal weight trucks transported in the US are around 40 tons; therefore rail is the preferred mode to move these containers. DOE has already designed and fabricated the 12-axle Atlas railcar that is currently undergoing testing. Together the Fortis and Atlas railcars will provide DOE with a capability to move radioactive materials safely and efficiently by 2027.

More information on DOE’s request for proposals for the Fortis railcar can be found at FedConnect.

More information on the Office of Nuclear Energy and its programs can be found here.

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