First loading campaign completed at UK dry fuel store

06 July 2017

EDF Energy last month marked the completion of its first used fuel loading campaign into the new dry fuel store at its Sizewell B pressurised water reactor. It is the first dry used fuel storage facility in the UK.

Sizewell B dry store fuel loading - 460 (Holtec)
From left to right: Mike Pence, Holtec; Paul Morton, Sizewell B station director; Vincent de Rivaz, EDF Energy CEO; Stuart Crooks, EDF Energy Generation managing director; Tom Marcille, Holtec vice president; Mark Gorry, EDF Energy chief nuclear officer; and Jerry Haller, dry fuel store program director (Image: Holtec)

The new storage facility - supplied by the USA's Holtec International - was inaugurated in April 2016 and the first HI-STORM MIC cask containing used fuel from the reactor was placed within it in March this year. Six more casks were placed within the storage building during the first loading campaign.

A ceremony - attended by about 250 people - was held on 15 June to mark the completion of the dry fuel store and of the first fuel loading campaign.

EDF Energy CEO Vincent de Rivaz said at the event, "Industrial strategy, in particular in the nuclear industry, requires a long-term vision. With this project, EDF Energy has shown once again that we can make this happen."

EDF Energy Generation managing director Stuart Crooks noted that the dry fuel store "has been adopted to satisfy the UK's world-leading nuclear safety requirements, and the needs of Sizewell B". He added the new storage facility "will enable safe, on-site storage of a lifetime's used fuel from Sizewell B", or until a deep geological repository becomes available. The store, Crooks noted, will enable continued operation of the Sizewell B nuclear power plant until at least 2035.

Under the current arrangements, all the used fuel from Sizewell B's reactor since it began producing low-carbon electricity in 1995 is safely stored under water in a fuel storage pond which was not designed for the lifetime of the plant. The fuel storage pond takes fuel from the reactor core and this used fuel is both hot and highly radioactive. The water in the pond both cools the fuel and forms a radiation barrier between the used fuel and its surrounding environment.

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's Dry Fuel Storage technology, which is used across the USA and Europe.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News