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Making A Safe Shift from Nuclear Waste to U.S. Energy Resource

May 14, 2013

TN-transportUsed nuclear fuel management is a topic that comes up frequently in the world of politics and anti-nuclear activists. The U.S. used fuel policy has been dominated by the once-through cycle concept, which resulted in used fuel being labeled as a waste product—a waste product with up to 96% recoverable and reusable energy. To best make use of this valuable resource, AREVA supports the implementation of a sustainable, safe used nuclear fuel management strategy for the United States’ nuclear reactor fleet.

Safe used fuel management is forward-looking. It is about keeping our options open, knowing that the solution can be managed from different angles that can provide a variety of benefits, all of which could be realized now … from interim storage to recycling to ultimate safe disposal. We have a responsibility to safely manage today’s used fuel to create a better future for generations to come.

Through AREVA’s subsidiary, Transnuclear, Inc., we are already leading the way in safely storing used nuclear fuel. Transnuclear is the U.S. market leader in safe used fuel storage solutions.

With its proven and versatile NUHOMS® Dry Shielded Canister System, Transnuclear meets nuclear plant needs with robust and low risk used fuel storage solutions. Its advanced technology — featuring an engineered Dry Shielded Canister and Horizontal Storage Module — provides the lowest dose rates in the industry and a low life cycle cost, and is proven for high seismic and tornado tolerance, and other external hazards. With the rollout of the next generation of NUHOMS® canister, the NUHOMS EOS (Extended Optimized Storage), Transnuclear will add an even higher capacity, heat load and burn-up option to meet the continued needs of nuclear plants well into the second half of the century.
Providing “as promised” performance for both BWR and PWR used fuel, the Transnuclear NUHOMS® technology offers the nuclear industry several key advantages:

  • Low life-cycle costs
  • Low plant risk
  • Superior shielding performance
  • Superior seismic capabilities
  • Enhanced ruggedness and resistance to flooding
  • Increased passive heat rejection capabilities

Transnuclear also hosts NUHOMS University, a unique training facility located in Aiken, S.C., that is the first in the United States to use full-scale working casks and trailers for training purposes. The training program was created to respond to customer expectations on human performance in all aspects of nuclear plant operations. As a result of this stringent training, the Transnuclear Pool to Pad team completed more than 40 consecutive loadings that have been error-free and remarkably low-dose … with no change orders.

Also, NUHOMS Dry Shielded Canisters are designed for offsite shipping using Transnuclear’s licensed MP197HB transportation package, currently in construction. For special applications, Transnuclear also provides metal storage casks.

AREVA believes that current and future used nuclear fuel inventories require that an integrated approach to used fuel management— including interim storage, recycling and ultimate disposal— is essential for a sustainable nuclear fuel cycle. In the meantime, Transnuclear is leading the way with safe and innovative used nuclear fuel storage and transportation solutions that will set the standard for the U.S. nuclear industry for several decades.