Monday, June 13, 2011

AUAM Unveil Uranium Shipping Flatrack to Solve Logistics Problem

New Transformer Flatrack Will Cut Down on Shipment Costs
Shipping News Feature

UK – The world’s largest transporter of natural and depleted Uranium hexafluoride (Hex), the substance which is used to create fuel for nuclear reactors, have unveiled their latest solution to solve the problem of transporting the bulky loads required for their specialist field.

Preston-based Advance Uranium Asset Management (AUAM) new flatrack is especially designed to transport the 48Y containers that are the nuclear industry’s standard shipping container. Uranium ore prior to enrichment is converted into a gaseous form, Hex. This is loaded into 48Y steel cylinders and solidifies inside the cylinder on cooling to room temperature. Each container holds 8,450kgs of Hex and are used to transport the substance by rail, road and sea to enrichment facilities.

However, standard forty-foot flatracks are not able to carry the concentrated weights equal to filled 48Y cylinders because of the flexing effects on the longer frame. This means Uranium has had to be transported on smaller flatracks or trailers and craned on and off. In addition the standard flatracks are unable to carry used 48Y’s stacked in twos as the load then exceeds the conventional shipping height gauge and must be shipped as abnormal sized loads, which attracts a higher rate and greater expense.

The AUAM 40ft Transformer Flatrack answers this by being the first flatrack that can carry a full 48Y Cylinder or alternatively six used/empty 48Y within the same dimensions as a standard 40ft shipping container. As a result it is far easier to handle and load aboard vessels or on standard road trailers. It also means the load stays under the maximum height limit of 4 metres, enabling cargoes on the new flatrack to be shipped without specialist escorts by ensuring that all height restrictions in Europe for Channel ferries and Continental bridge heights are met with a standard tractor and trailer combination.

It does this by featuring raised cradles and a specially designed superstructure that allows the 48Y cylinders to be placed with the loading lugs in the horizontal position and still remain inside the standard width shipping configuration which makes for easier loading arrangements and lower shipping rates.

In a statement the company said that: “AUAM are committed to innovative design projects which are intended to make our operations as safe as possible whilst offering improved logistics and cost savings to our customers.”