Holtec launches latest Project Cheetah technologies; Canada narrows repository site search

Our pick of the latest nuclear power news you need to know.

Holtec launches latest Project Cheetah technologies

Holtec International has announced ‘consequential technologies’ coming into service in the coming months as part of its Project Cheetah initiative.

Launched in 2004, Project Cheetah has produced technologies including underground canister storage, double wall canister and forced gas dehydration that have made dry storage more efficient.

The latest developments include a high capacity (31 fuel assemblies), high heat load (38 kilowatt) storage and transport fuel basket for Russian-origin VVER fuel. They will be used to transport Ukraine’s used fuel from nine reactors to the country’s Consolidated Interim Storage (CIS) facility due to open in 2020, and also engineered by Holtec.

Also new is Version E of HI-STORM FW storage cask, with improved flood resistance and the ability to be equipped with additional shielding to render proximate dose negligible.

The final new technology is HI-TRAN 300 – a 300 ton payload, single failure-proof cask transporter. This can carry the new HI-STORM casks. The first HI-TRANS is due to enter service in Q1 2020.
Holtec says it plans more Project Cheetah launches next year.

Canada narrows repository site search

Canada’s Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) has narrowed the field for a potential deep geological repository for the country’s used nuclear fuel.

Ignace in northwestern Ontario, and either Huron-Kinloss or South Bruce in southern Ontario, are still under consideration, while Hornepayne and Manitouwadge in northern Ontario are now not being considered.

“As we work towards identifying a single, preferred location for this project, in an area with informed and willing hosts, we need to increasingly focus on specific locations that have strong potential to meet the project’s safety and partnership requirements,” said Dr. Mahrez Ben Belfadhel, Vice-President of Site Selection at the NWMO.

“These are hard decisions and not made lightly, but ultimately, we are working towards identifying one area where we can implement Canada’s plan to ensure the protection of both people and the environment.”

The site selection process has been underway since 2010 with 22 sites originally expressing an interest. The NWMO has narrowed its focus through technical site evaluations and social engagement.

Next steps will include working with municipal and Indigenous communities to conduct more detailed site evaluations and social studies.

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy awarded Pilgrim contract

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) has been awarded a contract by Comprehensive Decommissioning International (CDI) to decommission the reactor internals and reactor pressure vessel at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station.

GEH will dismantle, segment and pack reactor internals and the reactor pressure vessel of the boiling water reactor that was shut down in May 2019. All handling and segmentation will be carried out underwater using the Primary Segmentation System designed in conjunction with REI Nuclear. GEH acquired the business and certain assets of REI Nuclear in December 2018.

“We are pleased to continue to support CDI with innovative technology, proven processes and an experienced team that is focused on safety and efficiency,” said Jay Wileman, President & CEO, GEH.

Holtec International’s subsidiaries completed the acquisition of Pilgrim from Entergy Corporation in August. This followed the approval by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to transfer the plant’s operating license to Holtec subsidiaries Holtec Pilgrim as the owner, and Holtec Decommissioning International (HDI) as the license holder and decommissioning operator for the plant. Holtec will contract with CDI, a joint venture company of Holtec International and SNC-Lavalin, to perform the decommissioning, including demolition and site cleanup.

GEH recently completed the segmentation of reactor internals at Oskarshamn Nuclear Power Plant (OKG) Unit 2 in Sweden and is now conducting the segmentation of OKG Unit 1.

In July, GEH was awarded a contract by CDI to decommission reactor internals and the reactor pressure vessel at Oyster Creek.

Nuclear Energy Insider