Every now and then the internet actually proves useful by providing fascinating and occassionally useful information that we might not have ever learned if it had never been invented by Al Gore.
Today is one of those days.
After reading about this, thanks to being alerted to it by Mr. Peter Holderith of The Drive, we will all now know about an amazing, but little known day in history when the British government decided to test out the resiliency of its “nuclear flasks” by smashing a locomotive into one, obliterating both the flask, as well as the train in the process.
On July 17, 1984, on the Old Dalby test track near Melton Mowbray, UK, a Class 46 diesel locomotive weighing 140 tons and carrying three passenger cars was cranked up to 100 mph and crashed into a nuclear flask filled with more than a ton of water and 200 steel rods, simulating the nuclear cargo that would normally be inside the container.
Once they had covered the train and flask with scientific instruments, they pressurized the flask to 100psi to measure any loss after the impact. They then surrounded the area with 32 different cameras, found a helicopter to chase the train all the way to its destination, and set it off down the track with no driver three-quarters of a mile away from its final destination.
When all was said and done, the pressure inside the flask was measured and only 0.29psi had escaped, proving to the fearful general public that yes, a nuclear waste flask could in fact survive the impact of a rail crash… at a cost of 1.75 million pounds ($2,228,765 – or $5,575,516 today).
The train, on the other hand, had definitely seen better days.
Think those pictures are cool? (They really are.) Wait until you watch video of the collision test below.