North Korean Fuel Project
NAC was responsible for the design, fabrication and delivery of specialized packaging containers and equipment to clean, canisterize, and stabilize (by vacuum drying and thermal conditioning) 8,000 spent fuel rods from the research reactor in Nyongbyon, North Korea. NAC site engineers sealed the fuel in 400 stainless steel canisters and secured them in newly built stainless steel pool racks using a system approved by the IAEA for long-term monitoring. This project was part of the U.S.-North Korea Agreed Framework to cooperate on a safe method of storing spent MAGNOX fuel without reprocessing. Because of both safety limitations and nonproliferation concerns, NAC worked under an accelerated schedule. The radiological conditions at Nyongbyon created difficulty because the extended fuel storage had caused cladding degradation. The project took place under international scrutiny, complicating safety and radiological environments, as well as under extreme physical conditions---temperatures dipped as low as minus-30 degrees. The project, while involving complex interactions among NAC and representatives of North Korea, IAEA, DOE, DOS, commercial contractors, national labs and other foreign entities, was successfully completed.
After conversion of the university reactor at Texas A&M to Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) fuel, NAC provided one NAC-LWT cask for the transport of 84 irradiated High Enriched Uranium (HEU) TRIGA type fuel assemblies to the DOE site of Idaho National Laboratory (INL). A set of TRIGA baskets was supplied by NAC for transportation and storage at INL. A team of NAC engineers provided technical guidance and support to university personnel for the performance of the cask loading and testing operations. The fuel packaging operation including the cask testing and preparation prior to shipment was performed within 3.5 days.
Petten Research Reactor, Netherlands
Under the Foreign Research Reactor (FRR) program, NAC received a contract from the European Commission to remove a total of 420 HEU spent fuel assemblies from the Dutch Petten reactor located north of Amsterdam using two campaigns of five NAC-LWT casks. NAC provided comprehensive services including transportation of empty casks and related equipment to the Netherlands, packaging services, technical assistance to support the cask loading operations, and transportation services of the loaded casks from Petten to the U.S. DOE Savannah River Site. A qualified dedicated vessel was used for the maritime shipment. The first shipment of five NAC-LWT casks was performed in spring 2005 and the second shipment was completed in June 2006.
FRR – Demokritos (Greece) and Graz (Austria)
NAC is the DOE contractor for the supply of spent nuclear fuel packaging and transportation services under the FRR program for Other Than High Income countries. A recent task order consisted of the removal of 46 HEU fuel assemblies from the Demokritos reactor located in Athens, Greece. Two empty NAC-LWT casks and related equipment were shipped to Greece. A team of NAC engineers provided the technical guidance on site for all the loading and cask testing operations. In parallel, NAC loaded another NAC-LWT cask at the research reactor in Graz, Austria. A dedicated qualified vessel chartered by NAC made a first call in Greece to pick up the two NAC-LWT casks and a second call in Koper, Slovenia to load the NAC-LWT from Graz, then returned to the U.S. for delivery at the Savannah River Site.
PWR Fuel from Exelon’s Braidwood Station to Studsvik in Sweden
Under a Westinghouse contract, NAC provided comprehensive services to transport irradiated fuel from Exelon’s Braidwood nuclear power plant (Illinois) to the Studsvik hot cell in Sweden for post-irradiation examination. NAC provided one NAC-LWT equipped with a transport canister for PWR fuel. A team of two NAC engineers assisted the Westinghouse and Braidwood personnel in canister and cask loading operations, cask testing, and shipping preparation. The US domestic portion of the transport from Braidwood to an east coast port was performed in compliance with the latest NRC security requirements. NAC’s communication center was activated for shipment tracking. A certified vessel for the maritime shipment from the US to Sweden was chartered by NAC. Finally, the last leg of the shipment in Sweden was performed by a local carrier under NAC’s management. Upon arrival, the NAC-LWT cask was immediately unloaded in the hot cell to perform fuel examination.