Holtec International on 4 May said the first multi-purpose canister containing fuel had been loaded into a HI-STORM FW module and placed into the new on-site used fuel dry storage facility at Brazil's Angra NPP. The Angra plant comprises two different reactor units. Angra 1 is a Westinghouse-designed 609 MWe pressurised water reactor, while Angra 2 is a Siemens-designed 1275 MWe PWR. The used fuel storage pools at both units are approaching full capacity.

Holtec said the MPC-32ML multi-purpose canister being used at Angra, featuring a specially designed and licensed Metamic-HT fuel basket optimised for Angra 2 fuel was loaded into a HI-STORM FW system and placed in the Complementary Dry Storage Unit for Used Fuel (UAS) on 22 March “marking the official start of its planned 50 years of operation”. Holtec added: “This event also marks the first use of Holtec’s HI-TRAN 300, a single-failure proof vertical heavy load hauler that was designed and manufactured at Holtec’s Advanced Manufacturing Division in Camden, New Jersey.”

The UAS includes physical security, radiation and temperature monitoring, an armoured access control centre and a storage warehouse with a technical workshop, designed and constructed by Holtec. It will store used fuel from both Angra units. As Angra 2’s used fuel pool is nearly full , the fuel transfer began with this unit. The transfer of fuel from Angra 1 is scheduled to begin in November.

Initially, the UAS will comprise 15 HI-STORM FW modules. In total, 288 fuel elements will be removed from Angra 2 and 222 from Angra 1, which will make enough room in the storage pools for another five years of operation for each unit. The dry storage facility can hold up to 72 modules, with the capacity to store used fuel until 2045.

Holtec International was awarded the contract in 2017, after an international public tender for turnkey supply launched by Eletronuclear in 2016. The first five modules were delivered to the Angra plant site in late-March 2020. The project scope was complex, including the customisation and licensing of the HI-STORM FW system for the different technologies at Angra 1 & 2, modernisations of the plants for safe handling of the systems, civil design and construction of the UAS, and services for loading the dry storage devices with used fuel elements at the units and transferring them to the UAS. Holtec said that, despite the Covid-19 pandemic during construction and a rigorous licensing and permitting process, Holtec and Eletronuclear worked closely to deliver the project in time to support plant operations.

Dr Richard M Springman, Senior Vice President for International Projects at Holtec International, said Angra’s UAS “is a state-of-the-art facility whose commissioning marks a significant milestone for securing the future of the nuclear industry in Brazil”. Eletronuclear’s Technical Director, Ricardo Luis Pereira dos Santos, said: “The UAS is a critical Project for Eletronuclear to ensure the continued operability of Angra 2 and Angra 1.”

Image: On-site used fuel dry storage facility at Angra NPP (Credit: Holtec International)