Orano TN transfers high-heat canisters; GNF installs accident tolerant fuel assemblies

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

Orano TN completes transfer of high heat fuel canisters

Orano TN has completed the first transfer and storage of 296 used fuel canisters with a higher than usual heat load using its Extended Optimised Storage (EOS) dry storage system.

The use of EOS, licensed by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for heat loads of up to 50 kW per canister, means used fuel can be transferred to secure dry storage after a shorter period of time.

On removal from a nuclear reactor, used fuel is transferred to a pool where it is allowed to cool sufficiently to be moved into dry storage or, in some countries, for reprocessing. Typically used fuel will remain in a pool for at least five years before being moved into dry storage. 

According to Orano, EOS is the first dry storage system to load and store used nuclear fuel with heat loads above industry experience to date, which has ranged between 14-34 kW per canister. Each EOS canister averaged 44.75 kilowatts.

Eight EOS 37PTH canisters were used to store the used fuel in eight NUHOMS EOS Horizontal Storage Modules (HSM).

“The EOS system allows a shutdown site to accelerate the transfer of used fuel from the pool to the Independent Spent Fuel Storage Facility, enabling the site to shorten its transition period and accelerate updates to the facility’s emergency response plan,” said Orano.

Global Nuclear Fuel installs accident tolerant fuel assemblies at Clinton

Global Nuclear Fuel says lead test assemblies utilizing its ARMOR-coated zirconium cladding and IronClad Accident Tolerant Fuel (ATF) solutions have been installed at Exelon Generation’s Clinton Power Station.

The assemblies were developed as part of the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) accident tolerant fuel program. The assemblies containing three varieties of GNF’s IronClad solution are the first fueled ferritic steel-based cladding assemblies to be installed in a commercial reactor.

GNF’s accident tolerant fuel solutions IronClad and ARMOR are designed to provide substantial oxidation resistance and superior material behavior. The low oxidation rates at higher temperatures improve safety margins. ARMOR-coated zirconium cladding provides enhanced protection of fuel rods against debris fretting.

"We continue to work with our customers and partners to develop fuel solutions to lead the industry into the future," said Jay Wileman, President & CEO, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy. "With support from the industry and the Department of Energy, we are advancing this fuel technology at an aggressive pace." 

In 2018, unfueled IronClad lead test rods and fueled ARMOR-coated zirconium cladding lead test rods were installed at Georgia Power’s Plant Hatch.

ATF concepts are also being developed by Framatome and Westinghouse with the help of DOE funding, while development programmes are also underway in Russia and China.

Waste removal begins at Berkeley 30 years after decommissioning

The removal of nuclear waste at the UK’s Berkeley power station has begun more than 30 years after the site was decommissioned.

Berkeley is a disused Magnox power station, which was one of the world’s first commercial nuclear power stations. Operations ceased at the power plant in 1989 and part of the facility has already been dismantled.

The cost of decommissioning is estimated at 1.2 billion pounds ($1.57 billion).

Waste products are being removed from the concrete vaults containing graphite from the fuel elements, as well as materials from the cooling ponds and the laboratories, and is expected to take up to six years.

“When the power stations first started generating, I do not think there was much thought put into how the waste was going to be dealt with or retrieved,” said Berkeley waste operations director Rob Ledger. “It has taken a while to develop the equipment and the facilities to do this.”

The waste material will be stored in an intermediate storage facility until a long-term solution is found.

Nuclear Energy Insider