EPRI recently issued a handbook on nuclear spent fuel storage that examines regulatory trends affecting used fuel storage, describes available dry storage technologies, reviews planning considerations for spent fuel storage installations, and discusses technical issues affecting dry storage. With all U.S. nuclear power plants expected to implement dry storage by 2025, sharing of best practices and greater awareness of known and potential technical issues will enable safe, reliable, cost-effective management of used fuel over long time horizons.

The publication, Industry Spent Fuel Storage Handbook, analyzes nuclear industry experience in managing increasing quantities of spent fuel assemblies. Various industry strategies are discussed, including full and partial re-racking, temporary storage racks, and the soluble boron credit (accurately reflecting the decreased reactivity in spent fuel when designing storage casks). The handbook also addresses early dry storage experience and the evolution from single-purpose storage casks to dual-purpose storage and transportation systems.

According to EPRI, each of the regulator-approved dry storage technologies is evaluated in the publication: EnergySolutions, Foster Wheeler, General Nuclear Systems, Holtec International, NAC International, Transnuclear, and Westinghouse. The planning and technology evaluation processes involved in establishing a dry storage facility are reviewed in terms of scheduling requirements, staffing, and economic, technical, and institutional considerations. Site-specific technical issues, for example, include items such as the capacity of the main and auxiliary reactor building overhead cranes to support dry storage loading operations and the effect of radiation from the storage facility on worker dose.

The handbook also provides substantial guidance related to the proper handling and management of used fuel. Although exact procedures are site-specific, many of the steps in transferring spent nuclear fuel from the storage pool to an at-reactor dry cask facility are similar. The publication details steps involved for tasks including dual-purpose canister fuel loading, removal of dual-purpose canisters from the spent fuel pool, and transfer of dual-purpose canisters to concrete storage casks (both vertical and horizontal transfer).

The handbook can be downloaded from http://www.epri.com; search by report number 1021048.

—Edited by Dr. Robert Peltier, PE