Assessment of a feasibility and practicality of reprocessing non-conforming RBMK SNF at Mayak PA

In early 2010, the absence of a technology for dry storage of non-conforming SNF of the RBMK-1000 reactor made Rosatom State Corporation initiate efforts to analyze safety of its reprocessing at Mayak PA. Under the Mayak/Sosny contract, our experts collected and analyzed data on the quantity and characteristics of non-conforming RBMK-1000 SFAs available in the storage pools of nuclear power plants, as well as a feasibility of handling them at the NPPs and Mayak PA. A possibility to involve regenerated uranium from non-conforming SFAs of the RBMK reactor in the nuclear fuel cycle was demonstrated.

The Sosny experts developed irretrievable air-tight ampoules for fuel rod bundles and made modifications to the cask to transport a pilot batch of the non-conforming SNF of the RBMK fuel. Moreover, equipment for cutting the SFAs in a shielded cell, loading the ampoules with the fuel rod bundles into the cask and handling the casks containing the ampoules at Mayak PA was developed and safety of all operations was justified. In autumn, 2011, the SFAs from the pilot batch were cut and the fuel rod bundles were packaged into ampoules and loaded into the cask, transported to Mayak PA and reprocessed.

An air-tight ampoule for transportation of a fuel rod bundle
An air-tight ampoule for transportation of a fuel rod bundle

Testing of equipment for handling the cask and ampoules at Mayak PA
Testing of equipment for handling the cask and ampoules at Mayak PA

TUK-11/RBMK
TUK-11/RBMK

For regular shipments of non-conforming SFAs, the Sosny developed and fabricated a prototype cask TUK-11/RBMK with irretrievable ampoules and required equipment for handling the spent fuel at the NPPs and Mayak PA. The package is based on the well-proven cask TUK-11, which was significantly modified to adapt it to the cask handling technology at the SNF facility. Air-tight ampoules of original design ensure safe transportation and interim storage of the SFAs containing leaky fuel rods in the Mayak storage pool.

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