First cask emplaced at Sizewell B fuel store

23 March 2017

The first cask containing used nuclear fuel from the Sizewell B pressurised water reactor has been placed within the unit's new dry fuel store. The milestone marks the first use of dry used fuel storage technology in the UK.

HI-STORM MIC cask in place at Sizewell B - 460 (Holtec)
The HI-STORM MIC cask in place in the Sizewell B store (Image: Holtec)

The HI-STORM MIC cask - designed by Holtec International in collaboration with EDF energy - was placed inside the Sizewell B dry fuel storage building on 13 March. The cask - produced at Holtec's manufacturing division in Pittsburgh, USA - is designed for a 100-year life and features a double wall.

Six more HI-STORM casks will be placed within the storage building during the current campaign being undertaken by a team of Holtec's Sizlon business unit and EDF Energy workers.

A dry fuel store is a method of storing used nuclear fuel that has already been cooled in the used fuel pond. The fuel is loaded into a metal canister which is then welded shut, and then placed within a large, leak-tight steel and concrete cask.

The development at Sizewell B marks a UK first for Holtec International's Dry Fuel Storage technology, which is used across the USA and Europe.

Holtec noted that, while the HI-STORM casks are designed to be used in open-air storage facilities, EDF Energy decided to construct a special building in which to house them.

EDF Energy inaugurated the new dry store in April 2016. The store will enable continued operation of the Sizewell B nuclear power plant until at least 2035. It will safely house used fuel from Sizewell B until a geological disposal facility is available for the longer term storage of used fuel.

EDF Energy Generation managing director Stuart Crooks said: "The Sizewell B dry store is the first of a kind for the UK. We have taken an already robust solution from Holtec and worked in strong collaboration to further improve the design resulting in industry-leading safety and security for the 100-year design life."

In a statement, Holtec said: "We think the technology trail-blazed by the Sizewell B HI-STORM will serve EDF Energy well across its far-flung nuclear operations, especially in the upcoming nuclear projects in the UK."

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News