Fun Fact Friday: Shipping Container Evaluations

Fun Fact Friday: Shipping Container Evaluations

Encorus’s Structural Engineering department provides more than just structural designs. One of our many capabilities is shipping container evaluations. Our shipping container evaluations have been requested by both manufacturers and the end users. The typical contents of the shipping containers Encorus evaluated have been nuclear waste. This requires a robust ASME NQA-1 program to ensure safety. The containers can be fabricated from steel components and can be lined with reinforced concrete, lead, or other material. Container loads are not limited to just the weight of the container and its contents. Evaluations must take stacking loads and various impact loads into account. Minimum impact loads are dictated by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and involve impacts from projectiles while stationary, and container drops from a certain height. The intent of applying these extreme loads is to ensure the structural integrity of the container, therefore maximizing safety to the public.

Encorus has experience in evaluating industrial package (IP-1), 7A Type A, specialty, and shielded containers. Industrial Packages (IP) are sub-divided into three categories designated as IP-1, IP-2 and IP-3, which differ regarding the degree to which they are required to withstand routine and normal conditions of transport. The required tests simulate normal transport conditions such as a fall from a vehicle, exposure to rain, being struck by a sharp object, or having other cargo stacked on top. Packages used in industry such as steel drums or bins could meet these various requirements, but purpose-designed packages are also frequently used. The choice depends on the characteristics of the material. Some typical materials transported in industrial packages are low-level and intermediate-level radioactive waste, or ores containing naturally occurring radionuclides (e.g. uranium or thorium) and concentrates of such ores.

Type A packages are used for the transport of relatively small, but significant, quantities of radioactive material. Since it is assumed that this type of package theoretically could be damaged in a severe accident and that a portion of their contents may be released, the amount of radionuclides they can contain is limited by NRC regulations. In the event of a release, these limits ensure that the risks from external radiation or contamination are very low.

Type A packages are required to maintain their integrity during normal transport conditions and therefore are subjected to tests simulating these conditions. Type A packages are used to transport radioisotopes for medical diagnosis or teletherapy, technetium, generators used to assist in the diagnosis of certain cancers, and also for some nuclear fuel cycle materials.

If you require shipping container evaluations, please reach out to our Senior Structural Engineer, Dan Sarata, at (716) 592-3980 ext 138, or at

Photo credit: SECUR LLC

Fun Fact Friday: ASME NQA-1 Quality Assurance Program

Fun Fact Friday: ASME NQA-1 Quality Assurance Program

Encorus is proud to offer guaranteed reliability through our established American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Nuclear Quality Assurance Program (NQA-1).

Lindse Runge, one of Encorus’s Quality Assurance Technicians, gives some insight regarding what the NQA-1 Program is, what she does, and what type of clients would benefit from the program. NQA-1 is a nuclear quality assurance standard for nuclear facilities in the U.S. It relates to the design, construction and operation of such sites, and is a highly-regarded industry standard. ASME NQA-1 was created and is maintained by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). This standard provides requirements and guidelines for the establishment and execution of quality assurance programs during siting, design, construction, operation and decommissioning of nuclear facilities. This standard reflects industry experience and current understanding of the quality assurance requirements necessary to achieve safe, reliable, and efficient utilization of nuclear energy, and management and processing of radioactive materials. The standard focuses on the achievement of results, emphasizes the role of the individual and line management in the achievement of quality, and fosters the application of these requirements in a manner consistent with the relative importance of the item or activity.

Lindse’s responsibilities include enforcing and implementing the requirements of Encorus’s QA program, developing / revising documents as required to comply with customer QA requirements and ASME NQA-1 requirements, reviewing customer purchase orders for QA requirements in order to develop plans to implement requirements throughout the project, reviewing Encorus purchase orders for QA requirements to ensure flow-down of customer requirements, participating in audits and surveys, and maintaining project files and documentation to ensure legibility, revision control, and traceability of records.

Encorus has a Quality Assurance Program that conforms to NQA-1 requirements to allow us to supply items and services to nuclear facilities. Clients that would benefit from an NQA-1 Program include the Department of Energy, Department of Defense, nuclear constructors, nuclear fabricators, and nuclear power plants.

If you think you would benefit from Encorus Group’s NQA-1 Program, please contact Quality Assurance Technician Lindse Runge at (716) 592-3980 ext 137 or

Fun Fact Friday: The Differences Between Radiographic & Ultrasonic Weld Testing

Fun Fact Friday: The Differences Between Radiographic & Ultrasonic Weld Testing

Welds can be tested using three different methods: destructive, in which the weld is destroyed to examine the physical properties of the metal and components; mechanical, which is used to determine the properties of a metal under force; and non-destructive, in which the integrity of the weld can be determined without destroying the weld itself. The primary advantage of non-destructive examinations (NDE) is the ability to examine a component’s surface, sub-surface, and internal makeup for defects while keeping the weld intact. Its two most common types are radiographic testing and ultrasonic testing.

Radiographic Weld Testing

Also known as x-ray inspection, radiographic testing involves the use of commercial x-ray or gamma units to examine visible discontinuities on the interior of the weld, including:

– Cracks

– Scattered porosity

– Blowholes

– Inclusions

– Undercutting

The process is similar to that used to take x-rays of the human body. Gamma rays are passed through a tube onto photographic film to produce an image of internal components. As in the medical field, special expertise is required to perform radiographic weld testing and interpret the results. Due to its requirement for specific equipment, highly qualified personnel, and extensive safety precautions, its cost tends to run higher than other types of testing. However, radiographic testing is acknowledged as one of the most versatile and widely accepted forms of NDE, as it’s required to meet the welding codes and standards established by many relevant organizations, such as American Welding Society (AWS) and American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

Ultrasonic Weld Testing

Used to check for surface and sub-surface discontinuities, ultrasonic weld testing involves the direction of a high-frequency energy beam through the object. If the beam detects an interruption, sound will reflect back and be collected by the pulse-echo equipment, which then amplifies it and displays it visually in video format. Ultrasonic testing is very sensitive and can determine the exact location of discontinuities, particularly gas pores, lamination, and other defects that are too small to be observed with other methods. While it requires interfacing with computers or equipment with built-in memory to produce a permanent record, it allows for a closer inspection of joints than radiographic testing can provide. Like radiographic testing, only highly trained professionals can perform ultrasonic weld testing.

While radiographic and ultrasonic testing each offer their own advantages and disadvantages, both forms of non-destructive examinations are indispensable to the welding industry. At Encorus Group, we offer these and other NDE options, all of which meet or exceed requirements and are performed by our experienced technicians using advanced equipment. For more information, contact Director of Testing Services Jim Handzlik at 716.592.3980, ext. 148.


Encorus Welcomes Quality Assurance Engineer Katherine Haberer

Encorus Welcomes Quality Assurance Engineer Katherine Haberer

Katherine Haberer has joined Encorus Group’s Design Department as a Quality Assurance Engineer. She is a Western New York native and has a Bachelors Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University at Buffalo.  Katherine previously worked as a product engineer, project manager, and quality engineer at Prestolite.  In her free time, she enjoys running and hiking.  Welcome to the Encorus team, Katherine!

New Hire Spotlight: Lindse Runge

New Hire Spotlight: Lindse Runge

Encorus Group is pleased to announce that Lindse Runge has joined the firm’s Quality Assurance Department as a QA Technician. Originally from Lake Charles, Louisiana, Lindse previously worked for CB&I in their quality program.  She now calls Western New York home, along with her husband Jake and one year old daughter Abigail.  Lindse has already proven to be a valuable member of the Encorus team, jumping into projects from her first day on the job.  Welcome to Encorus, Lindse!