Russia completes TUK-141O hot tests

02 October 2017

Russia's Federal Centre for Nuclear and Radiation Safety (FCNRS), Rosenergoatom and Mayak Production Association have completed the "hot tests" for TUK-141O casks for the transport of used nuclear fuel. The cask will replace the 13th series of transport containers and is licensed to move used fuel assemblies from VVER-1000 reactors.

TUK-1410 cask - 460 (Rosatom)
The TUK-141O cask (Image: Rosatom)

In Russia, TUK - transportation packaging set - casks are used to transport used nuclear fuel. Several TUK-13 casks fit into a container or TK carrier for rail transport, each cask holding about 6 tonnes of fuel. The TUK-141O cask is to replace the older model for VVER-1000 fuel, both in Russia and from overseas. Each TUK-141O cask weighs over 100 tonnes, holds 18 VVER fuel assemblies weighing 9 tonnes in a removable canister, and is designed for hotter fuel - up to 36 kW heat load. The TUK-14 series is also more heavily shielded, and can carry VVER-1200 fuel. It fits a TK-U-141 railway carrier.

In a joint statement on 27 September, FCNRS and Mayak said the cask had been successfully used for the first time to transport irradiated fuel from the Balakovo nuclear power plant, in the Saratov district, by rail to Mayak, in Chelyabinsk, near the Ural Mountains, between 19 and 22 September. At Mayak, the hot tests were continued and the cask was reloaded on to a railway conveyor and delivered to workshop #5, they said. On September 26, the used fuel assemblies were unloaded from the cask and placed in a storage pool where they will remain until they are processed.

FCNRS General Director Andrey Golini said the milestone marked the arrival of the "new generation of containers".

He added: "The successful export of used fuel assemblies in a TUK-141O is the best proof that it is safe, meets all the necessary requirements and can be used to replace the current container fleet."

Anatoly Zubkov, designer of the TUK-141O, said containers of the previous generation had been developed in the 1980s and that since then national and international requirements for the transport of used nuclear fuel had changed. "It became necessary to switch to more advanced designs that meet modern international and Russian standards and regulations for the transportation of used nuclear fuel. TUK-141O has a bigger capacity and can store 18 instead of the previous 12 used fuel assemblies. This significantly reduces the time required for preventive maintenance work on a nuclear power plant unit," he said.

Russia has 35 VVER-1000 reactors which produce more than 200 tonnes of used nuclear fuel each year. In addition, more than 6300 tonnes of used nuclear fuel from VVER-1000 reactors have been accumulated at the Mining and Chemical Combine at Zheleznogorsk near Krasnoyarsk, Siberia. Mayak will process up to 400 tonnes per year of used nuclear fuel of various types, including VVER-1000. The TUK-141O cask design will speed up the work thanks to its larger capacity.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News