US-based Holtec Inernational said on 12 July that its manufacturing facilities in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ohio were gearing up for increased production rates of HI-STAR casks following receipt of recent regulatory approvals and new orders in Europe. Spain’s Enresa awarded Holtec a contract for the design, engineering, licensing and manufacturing of five HI-STAR 150 casks for Cofrentes NPP in August 2017.
The Spanish Nuclear Safety Council (CSN) granted the favourable evaluation of the HI-STAR 150 design for storage on 28 April, 2021, and subsequently, on 23 May it received the storage licence from Spain’s Ministry of Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge. The first HI-STAR 150 was loaded at the Cofrentes Nuclear Power Station in Spain and placed into the storage facility on 23 June. On 2 July, Holtec was awarded a contract by Enresa to produce an additional ten HI-STAR 150 casks.
The HI-STAR 150 cask is licensed for storage of up to 52 BWR used fuel assemblies, including damaged fuel assemblies; extension of the licence to increase the number of fuel assemblies with Crud-Induced Localised Corrosion (CILC) is ongoing. Holtec’s HI-STAR 180L, a higher capacity version of the HI-STAR 150 designed for up to 69 BWR used fuel assemblies, also recently received approval from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for transport, and received Type B(U)-96 certification on 27 April.
Meanwhile, in Belgium, the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC) on 18 June approved the HI-STAR 180D for transportation after a lengthy review process. FANC’s Type B(U)F-96 certification is Holtec’s first dual-purpose storage and transportation cask (with no internal canister) licensed for transport in Europe. Holtec is in advanced stages of production of the initial batch of two HI-STAR 180D casks for Doel NPP in Northern Belgium with the first cask expected to be loaded next year after authorisation from Bel-V, the subsidiary of FANC with regulatory oversight for storage
The HI-STAR 180D is the sister cask to the HI-STAR 180, which has been under review by ENSI in Switzerland for storage and transportation since 2009. The HI-STAR 180 was first approved by the NRC in 2009 for transportation, the first cask licensed with Holtec’s proprietary Metamic-HT fuel basket, an aluminum-based material with imbedded nanoparticles that enable the material to maintain a yield strength close to that of stainless steel at the elevated temperatures typical of transportation.
The HI-STAR 100MB is designed based on the HI-STAR 100 and HI-STAR 190 transport casks for retrieval of large-diameter canisters from nuclear power plants with onsite storage facilities. The HI-STAR 100MB is the counterpart that will retrieve medium sized canisters containing fuel with high burnups and shorter cooling times than allowed by the HI-STAR 100. The HI-STAR 100MB also includes the option to transport unpackaged fuel without a canister. The cask with the bare basket design is adopted as one of the main work forces for used fuel fleet transportation in China. HI-STAR 100MB is now under the final stage of licensing approval for transportation by China’s National Nuclear Safety Administration.