skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Changing the Rules on Fuel Export at Sellafield's First Fuel Storage Pond - 12065

Abstract

The Pile Fuel Storage Pond (PFSP) was built in 1949/50 to receive, store and de-can fuel and isotopes from the Windscale Piles. Following closure of the Piles in 1957, plant operations were scaled down until fuel processing eventually ceased in 1962. The facility has held an inventory of metal fuel both from the Piles and from other programmes since that time. The pond is currently undergoing remediation and removal of the fuel is a key step in that process, unfortunately the fuel export infrastructure on the plant is no longer functional and due to the size and limited lifting capability, the plant is not compatible with today's large volume heavy export flasks. The baseline scheme for the plant is to package fuel into a small capacity flask and transfer it to another facility for treatment and repackaging into a flask compatible with other facilities on site. Due to programme priorities the repackaging facility is not available to do this work for several years causing a delay to the work. In an effort accelerate the programme the Metal Fuel Pilot Project (MFPP) was initiated to challenge the norms for fuel transfer and develop a new methodology for transferring the fuel. Inmore » developing a transfer scheme the team had to overcome challenges associated with unknown fuel condition, transfers outside of bulk containment, pyro-phoricity and oxidisation hazards as well as developing remote control and recovery systems for equipment not designed for this purpose. A combination of novel engineering and enhanced operational controls were developed which resulted in the successful export of the first fuel to leave the Pile Fuel Storage Pond in over 40 years. The learning from the pilot project is now being considered by the main project team to see how the new methodology can be applied to the full inventory of the pond. (author)« less

Authors:
 [1]
  1. Sellafield Ltd, Sellafield, Cumbria (United Kingdom)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
WM Symposia, 1628 E. Southern Avenue, Suite 9-332, Tempe, AZ 85282 (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
22293393
Report Number(s):
INIS-US-14-WM-12065
TRN: US14V1046114917
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: WM2012: Waste Management 2012 conference on improving the future in waste management, Phoenix, AZ (United States), 26 Feb - 1 Mar 2012; Other Information: Country of input: France; 4 refs.
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES, AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; CONTAINMENT; EXPORTS; FUELS; HAZARDS; REMOTE CONTROL; REMOVAL; STORAGE

Citation Formats

Carlisle, Derek. Changing the Rules on Fuel Export at Sellafield's First Fuel Storage Pond - 12065. United States: N. p., 2012. Web.
Carlisle, Derek. Changing the Rules on Fuel Export at Sellafield's First Fuel Storage Pond - 12065. United States.
Carlisle, Derek. 2012. "Changing the Rules on Fuel Export at Sellafield's First Fuel Storage Pond - 12065". United States. doi:.
@article{osti_22293393,
title = {Changing the Rules on Fuel Export at Sellafield's First Fuel Storage Pond - 12065},
author = {Carlisle, Derek},
abstractNote = {The Pile Fuel Storage Pond (PFSP) was built in 1949/50 to receive, store and de-can fuel and isotopes from the Windscale Piles. Following closure of the Piles in 1957, plant operations were scaled down until fuel processing eventually ceased in 1962. The facility has held an inventory of metal fuel both from the Piles and from other programmes since that time. The pond is currently undergoing remediation and removal of the fuel is a key step in that process, unfortunately the fuel export infrastructure on the plant is no longer functional and due to the size and limited lifting capability, the plant is not compatible with today's large volume heavy export flasks. The baseline scheme for the plant is to package fuel into a small capacity flask and transfer it to another facility for treatment and repackaging into a flask compatible with other facilities on site. Due to programme priorities the repackaging facility is not available to do this work for several years causing a delay to the work. In an effort accelerate the programme the Metal Fuel Pilot Project (MFPP) was initiated to challenge the norms for fuel transfer and develop a new methodology for transferring the fuel. In developing a transfer scheme the team had to overcome challenges associated with unknown fuel condition, transfers outside of bulk containment, pyro-phoricity and oxidisation hazards as well as developing remote control and recovery systems for equipment not designed for this purpose. A combination of novel engineering and enhanced operational controls were developed which resulted in the successful export of the first fuel to leave the Pile Fuel Storage Pond in over 40 years. The learning from the pilot project is now being considered by the main project team to see how the new methodology can be applied to the full inventory of the pond. (author)},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2012,
month = 7
}

Conference:
Other availability
Please see Document Availability for additional information on obtaining the full-text document. Library patrons may search WorldCat to identify libraries that hold this conference proceeding.

Save / Share:
  • The Pile Fuel Storage Pond (PFSP) was built in 1948/50 to treat materials from the Windscale Piles. Multiple operational regimes over the intervening 60 years have resulted in a complex inventory of spent nuclear fuels, solid and liquid intermediate level wastes. A coordinated programme of work, designed to retrieve and safely dispose of the pond contents, has been implemented to enable the decommissioning of the facility. The long period of passive storage operations which preceded the implementation of the programme meant that the operator was faced with a dual challenge of providing new technical capability and changing a working culturemore » that was inappropriate for the dynamic environment required to successfully deliver the programme. It was recognised that the nature of the programme meant that implementing a standard manufacturing approach to operations would not be appropriate. In order to create a dynamic retrievals focussed working culture, the operator has vigorously embraced change programmes aimed at improving a number of working practices including encouraging innovation, managing integrated but flexible production schedules, and encouraging work-face problem solving. The combined impact of beginning to resolve the technical challenges and focussing on the delivery culture has resulted in the facility making a step change towards becoming fully retrievals operations focussed. (authors)« less
  • The Pile Fuel Storage Pond (PFSP) at Sellafield was built and commissioned between the late 1940's and early 1950's as a storage and cooling facility for irradiated fuel and isotopes from the two Windscale Pile reactors. The pond was linked via submerged water ducts to each reactor, where fuel and isotopes were discharged into skips for transfer along the duct to the pond. In the pond the fuel was cooled then de-canned underwater prior to export for reprocessing. The plant operated successfully until it was taken out of operation in 1962 when the First Magnox Fuel Storage Pond took overmore » fuel storage and de-canning operations on the site. The pond was then used for storage of miscellaneous Intermediate Level Waste (ILW) and fuel from the UK's Nuclear Programme for which no defined disposal route was available. By the mid 1970's the import of waste ceased and the plant, with its inventory, was placed into a passive care and maintenance regime. By the mid 1990s, driven by the age of the facility and concern over the potential challenge to dispose of the various wastes and fuels being stored, the plant operator initiated a programme of work to remediate the facility. This programme is split into a number of key phases targeted at sustained reduction in the hazard associated with the pond, these include: - Pond Preparation: Before any remediation work could start the condition of the pond had to be transformed from a passive store to a plant capable of complex retrieval operations. This work included plant and equipment upgrades, removal of redundant structures and the provision of a effluent treatment plant for removing particulate and dissolved activity from the pond water. - Canned Fuel Retrieval: Removal of canned fuel, including oxide and carbide fuels, is the highest priority within the programme. Handling and export equipment required to remove the canned fuel from the pond has been provided and treatment routes developed utilising existing site facilities to allow the fuel to be reprocessed or conditioned for long term storage. - Sludge Retrieval: In excess of 300 m{sup 3} of sludge has accumulated in the pond over many years and is made up of debris arising from fuel and metallic corrosion, wind blown debris and bio-organic materials. The Sludge Retrieval Project has provided the equipment necessary to retrieve the sludge, including skip washer and tipper machines for clearing sludge from the pond skips, equipment for clearing sludge from the pond floor and bays, along with an 'in pond' corral for interim storage of retrieved sludge. Two further projects are providing new plant processing routes, which will initially store and eventually passivate the sludge. - Metal Fuel Retrieval: Metal Fuel from early Windscale Pile operations and various other sources is stored within the pond; the fuel varies considerably in both form and condition. A retrieval project is planned which will provide fuel handling, conditioning, sentencing and export equipment required to remove the metal fuel from the pond for export to on site facilities for interim storage and disposal. - Solid Waste Retrieval: A final retrieval project will provide methods for handling, retrieval, packaging and export of the remaining solid Intermediate Level Waste within the pond. This includes residual metal fuel pieces, fuel cladding (Magnox, aluminium and zircaloy), isotope cartridges, reactor furniture, and miscellaneous activated and contaminated items. Each of the waste streams requires conditioning to allow it to be and disposed of via one of the site treatment plants. - Pond Dewatering and Dismantling: Delivery of the above projects will allow operations to progressively remove the radiological inventory, thereby reducing the hazard/risk posed by the plant. This will then allow subsequent dewatering of the pond and dismantling of the structure. (authors)« less
  • Work has begun to tackle one of the biggest challenges in the UK nuclear cleanup program: the retrieval of spent nuclear fuel from the First Generation Magnox Fuel Storage Pond at Sellafield. The UK Government regulatory body, Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) considers this pond to be the country's highest priority in terms of Hazard Reduction, a view supported by the facility owner, UK Government's Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). Remotely operated submersible vehicles (ROV's) were used by British Nuclear Group to assess the condition of stored fuel in First Generation Magnox Storage Ponds (1945-60's build). The ROV survey showed fuel conditionmore » was better than expected, and engineers were able to prototype retrieval on a selected skip (container) of fuel. The retrieval and subsequent export to the Fuel Handling Plant (FHP) was executed in November 2005 and was completely successful. The next stage is to reprocess the fuel using the Magnox Reprocessing Plant. If this is successful the prototype retrieval will have demonstrated that: - British Nuclear Group can safely retrieve fuel from its legacy ponds; - British Nuclear Group can safely transport retrieved legacy fuel between facilities; - British Nuclear Group can eliminate the hazard presented by this legacy fuel by use of existing on-site reprocessing facilities. This in turn enables the option to commence larger-scale fuel retrievals from these legacy ponds years ahead of the current plan which assumes new plants to be available to handle all arisings from the legacy ponds in 2015. This hazard reduction could commence as early as 2008. (authors)« less
  • The Legacy Ponds at Sellafield represent one of the biggest challenges in the civil nuclear clean up portfolio in the UK. In June 2002 British Nuclear Group contracted with the ACKtiv Nuclear Joint Venture to progress the risk mitigation, asset restoration and the early enabling works associated with preparation for clean up. The ACKtiv Nuclear JV was formed from three major engineering and construction companies in the UK - Aker Kvaerner, Carillion and Atkins. This paper describes some of the technical, and safety challenges the project successfully overcame in reducing some of the risks that the Legacy Pond represented andmore » the preparation for clean up. (authors)« less
  • As agreed between the German government and the utilities in 2001, all spent fuel assemblies (FAs) are now stored inside spent-fuel casks in on-site storage buildings. With the cask being the only route of FA disposal, cask licensing has become vital not only for cask vendors, but also for the utilities. Recently, the German authorities have taken the switch from the IAEA 1985 to the IAEA 1996 rules as the basis of the cask transport license as an opportunity to open new areas of discussion. One example is the behavior of the fuel assemblies inside the cask during and aftermore » the most harmful design accidents. Radiation-induced embrittlement of high-burn-up fuel rods (55-65 GWd/tHM FA-avg.) may cause failure of fuel rods after the 9 m drop. If one conservatively assumes the leak-tight cask to be flooded with water and if one conservatively considers at the same time the fuel released from the high-burn-up rods to be fresh fuel, one can construct a situation with questionable criticality safety. Because of these and similar considerations, the cask licensing procedure in Germany has become difficult and slow. As a result, the German utilities can not reach the FA burn-up levels granted in their operating licenses, as there is no cask type licensed that would suffice. Cask vendors, fuel vendors and utilities must work together to solve this problem. (authors)« less