Operating licence issued for Ukraine dry storage facility

27 April 2021

The collegium of the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine (SNRIU) on 22 April issued an operating licence for the ISF-2 dry used nuclear fuel storage facility constructed by Holtec International at the Chernobyl NPP site. The licence permits the loading of used fuel into the containerised dry storage systems.

This followed cold and hot tests at the facility and approval of the final safety analysis report. Hot tests were completed in December 2020.

During the operation of the Chernobyl NPP from 1977 to 2000, more than 21,000 fuel assemblies accumulated at the station, which are now stored in the ISF-1 wet used fuel storage facility. ISF-1 is not designed for long-term storage of fuel, and its service life is limited and all the stored assemblies must be moved to ISF-2.

Holtec took over the ISF-2 project in 2011 after demonstrating to EBRD and SNRIU that it had the technologies to deal with Chernobyl’s RBMK fuel. The project had begun in 1998 but stalled when the technology provided by Areva was shown to be inadequate. Holtec took over the project and started work to develop a fully functional facility using the legacy systems, structures and components supplied by Areva, and by acquiring new replacement systems from France, Germany, Italy, the USA, and elsewhere.

ISF-2 cost €400 million ($474m) and was financed with contributions from Belgium, Canada, Denmark, the European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, the UK and the USA.

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