Removal of damaged fuel completed at Paks

30 January 2007

Some 30 damaged nuclear fuel rods have been removed from a washing tank at Paks 2. The undamaged reactor was restarted on 30 December 2006.

The Hungarian pressurized water reactor suffered a serious incident on 10 April 2003 when water circulation in a nuclear fuel washing well was inadequate. Highly radioactive material accumulated on the floor of the well as 30 nuclear fuel rods suffered damage from overheating.

The event was categorised at Level 3 on the International Nuclear Events Scale.

In remarks reported by Nuclear.Ru, Istvan Kovacs, director general of MVM, part owners of the plant, said he had personally insisted on choosing the bid from Russia's TVEL to complete the removal ahead of the other bidder, Areva NP, who had manufactured the original washing equipment when known as Framatome ANP.

Kovacs said: "All fuel fragments and pellets have been removed, placed in special tubes and transferred to the hold-up pool."

The recovery operation should be complete by March after the decontamination and removal of the tank, and the decontamination of washing well 2.

TVEL acting president Anton Badenkov said the contract was worth about $5 million but that "this is not a commercial contract for us. Above all, it was implemented to allow the only Hungarian nuclear power plant to function normally." Paks 2 was shut down at the time its fuel was removed for washing, but not restarted until 30 December 2006 due to the complications posed by the stranded damaged fuel.

Badenkov said that TVEL intends to supply nuclear fuel to Paks in future.

Further information


WNN Event Reports: The International Nuclear Events Scale