Improving safety of storage conditions for the spent fuel from the EGP-6 reactors at the Bilibino NPP

The Bilibino NPP has accumulated a large stock of SFAs stored in abundance in drained cooling pools. The planned shutdown of the plant raises an acute problem of further management of the spent fuel. The size of the spent fuel assemblies limits the choice of transport equipment and casks. The situation is complicated due to the hard-to-rich location of the Bolibino NPP, where communication with the mainland is season- and weather-dependent, and the existing airfields are ill-fitted for accommodating heavy planes. Another problem is a unique design and fuel composition that do not allow fitting this spent fuel to any of the SNF handling programs used in the industry.

In these conditions, Sosny experts offered a way out. They developed a method for removing the SFAs from the dry storage pools and, then, from the reactor building. In 2010, the Company signed a government contract to survey the cooling pools and analyze nuclear and radiation safety of the operations and to develop a technology and equipment for two options of handling the SFAs, i.e. disposal and removal to a reprocessing plant. Rosatom will make a choice of the optimum option basing on the results of the feasibility study.

The Sosny has created an experimental stand including areas for the fuel unloading, SFA incoming inspection, loading into canisters with a unit for automatic SNF cutting and encapsulating, units for drying and replacing the internal medium in the SNF-containing canisters and weld leak testing.

 

 Experimental stand for practicing SNF cutting operations
Experimental stand for practicing SNF cutting operations

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