Fuel transfer trolley installed at Finnish encapsulation plant

16 February 2024

The transfer trolley for moving used fuel transport casks has been installed at Finnish waste management company Posiva's encapsulation plant under construction at Olkiluoto. The 30-tonne trolley, manufactured by the French company CSI and delivered to the encapsulation plant earlier in February measures about five metres by four metres. After being transferred from the fuel reception hall one floor below, it was placed on the rails it will use during operation.

The encapsulation plant is part of Posiva's final disposal facility complex. Once the final disposal operation starts, used nuclear fuel will be transported from interim storage to the encapsulation plant where it will be packed into final disposal canisters made of copper and spheroidal graphite cast iron. The cannisters will then be transferred into the underground tunnels of the repository, located at a depth of 400-450 metres, and subsequently into deposition holes lined with a bentonite buffer.

Posiva explained that it plays a key and versatile role in the final disposal process. receiving the transport casks upon arrival as well as transferring, lifting and inserting them into the docking station. This takes place in a compact space within the transfer corridor.

Used fuel is transported to the encapsulation plant from Teollisuuden Voima Oyj's (TVO's) interim fuel storage using a transport cask. At a docking preparations station between the reception point and the docking station, maintenance activities and other measures prepare the cask for docking and undocking.

"This is yet another important milestone at the encapsulation plant," said Installation Manager Veijo Ruotanen, who responsible for installation of the main equipment at the encapsulation plant. "Having the equipment specifically designed for this purpose ready for operation and in place and installation work progressing at a good pace is a major accomplishment."

In 2022, Skanska Talonrakennus Oy, the contractor responsible for construction of the encapsulation plant, handed over the building to Posiva for installation of the nuclear systems and commissioning of the process systems.

Posiva, jointly owned by Finnish nuclear utilities Fortum and TVO, applied for a construction licence for a repository to the Ministry of Employment and the Economy in 2013 and the government granted the licence in November 2015. The site for a repository at Eurajoki, near the Olkiluoto NPP, was selected in 2000 and parliament approved the decision-in-principle on the repository project in 2021.

Image: The transfer trolley in place at Posiva's encapsulation plant currently under construction in Olkiluoto (courtesy of Posiva)

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