Orano delivers transport cask for first US deployment

07 November 2019

Orano TN has delivered its first NUHOMS MP197HB transport cask, which it describes as the most advanced and versatile shielded transport cask in the USA for moving used nuclear fuel assemblies and low-level radioactive waste (LLW). It is also the only transport cask available to transport high burnup and damaged used nuclear fuel in the country.

The MP197HB shielded transport cask during training exercises at Waste Control Specialists (Image: Orano)Image: © Orano.

Orano said it will use the cask later this year to transport LLW generated from the ongoing decommissioning of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant to Waste Control Specialists' waste disposal site in Texas.

NUHOMS MP197HB was initially licensed by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission in October 2011, with nine subsequent revisions upgrading its capabilities to cover a wide variety of payloads. The first production unit is now fabricated, certified, delivered, and being deployed for its first mission, Orano said.

Sam Shakir, CEO of Orano USA, said the versatility of the cask for securely moving a variety of used fuel canisters was "critical" for the nuclear industry. "This versatility helps reduce decommissioning complexity and costs, simplify transport planning, and maintain commitments to the host communities for the safe management of radioactive materials," he said.

For transporting LLW waste, the cask's extra-large interior space helps limit the number of offsite shipments needed to remove material generated during the decommissioning of shutdown sites’ reactor vessels and large components, the company said.

The cask is an integrated element of Orano's NUHOMS dry storage system, which is in use at over 30 US reactor sites. The MP197HB interfaces with the storage systems used on reactor sites to load the used fuel canisters. The cask is loaded using a secure direct horizontal transfer, where the canisters are never lifted or suspended from a crane or a lifting device, and are never without the full protection of the robust MP197HB cask. The system is part of the planned Interim Storage Partners consolidated interim storage facility, which is undergoing NRC licensing review, where the same horizontal transfer operation would be conducted in reverse for unloading.

Orano TN, formerly TN Americas, is the Orano USA subsidiary in charge of nuclear logistics.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News