Russia to use new-design used fuel casks

16 May 2017

Russia's Federal Centre for Nuclear and Radiation Safety (FCNRS) said on 12 May that in September it will begin using TUK-1410 casks for the transport of used nuclear fuel from assemblies from VVER-1000 reactors. 

The cask will replace the 13th series of transport containers. FCNRS said the new type of cask will first take used fuel from unit 4 of the Balakovo NPP, in the Saratov region of Russia, to the Mayak Production Association, in Ozersk. TUK-1410 casks will be used for this operation along with TUK-13 casks, it added.

The TUK-1410 design is "significantly superior in terms of its technical characteristics and safety features" to the 13th series, FCNRS said, "and is capable of transporting used nuclear fuel with increased enrichment and burnup". The decision to start using TUK-1410 casks this year is in line with safety requirements from Russian regulatory authorities for the transportation and handling of used nuclear fuel.

Each TUK-1410 cask weighs over 100 tonnes, holds 18 VVER fuel assemblies weighing 9 tonnes in a removable canister, and is designed for hotter fuel - up to 36 kW heat load. The TUK-14 series is also more heavily shielded, and can carry VVER-1200 fuel. It fits a TK-U-141 railway carrier.

Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom established the FCNRS in March 2007 as a back-end management division to arrange a centralised system for the management of used nuclear fuel and radioactive waste, and for the decommissioning of nuclear and radiological facilities.

The Mayak Production Association announced in December 2016 that its RT-1 reprocessing facility had received the first shipment of used fuel from a VVER-1000 reactor (the  Rostov NPP), following major restructuring and upgrades to its processing facilities. RT-I is now capable of handling fuel from all types of power reactors as well as from research reactors and submarines.

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