Orano Completes Fuel Transfers To FOAK EOS Canisters

In its final loading campaign of 2019, Orano TN completed the transfer of 296 used nuclear fuel assemblies from a U.S. reactor’s wet storage pool to the onsite dry storage Independent Spent Fuel Storage Facility (ISFSI) using eight NUHOMS EOS 37PTH heat-tolerant canisters to securely store the used fuel in eight EOS Horizontal Storage Modules (HSM), the company said.

Orano Storage Averaging a total heat load per EOS canister of 44.75 kilowatts, Orano’s Extended Optimized Storage (EOS) system is the first dry storage system to load and store used nuclear fuel with heat loads well above industry experience to date, which has ranged between 14-34 kW per canister. Heat load in kW is a measurement of the used nuclear fuel’s decay heat.

The loading campaign used NRC approved technology to transfer heat loads of up to 50 kW per canister, the highest in the industry. Designed by Orano TN and manufactured at Orano’s TNF site in Kernersville, North Carolina, the EOS canisters are engineered to store 37 PWR high burnup fuel assemblies with the highest total heat load per canister, and the highest heat load per used fuel assembly of any system in the industry, the company said.

The EOS Horizontal Storage Modules are manufactured by Orano’s precast concrete facility in Moyock, North Carolina, and engineered to provide maximum physical protection from external events, the highest heat load dissipation capability at 50kW, and the lowest radiation dose—with nearly half the dose rate of a vertical module system.

The primary advantage to the new system is to be able to transfer hotter fuel assemblies and fuel that are cooled for less time from the reactor’s wet storage pool into secure dry storage. This will allow for a smaller inventory of fuel assemblies in a power plant's wet-stored system. 

The benefit can also be applied to shutdown reactor sites. The EOS system allows a shutdown site to accelerate the transfer of used fuel from the pool to the ISFSI, enabling the site to shorten its transition period and accelerate updates to the facility’s emergency response plan.

“This initial loading of the EOS system is a milestone event for Orano TN,” said Amir Vexler, U.S. president of Orano TN, “The safe and efficient performance clearly demonstrates the expertise and advanced technology Orano provides for our customers.”

The recently constructed and loaded EOS dry storage system is Orano’s first installation of this advanced version of its NUHOMS portfolio, which has been securely storing used nuclear fuel for decades at more than 30 U.S. sites. The new EOS system retains the same simple and stable horizontal used fuel loading process unique to Orano’s NUHOMS technology.

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